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AM Online

CBI chief voices industry ‘extinction’ fears after automotive sector talks

CBI president Paul Dreschler

CBI president Paul Dreschler has voiced fears that sections of UK industry “face extinction” following conversations with bosses from the automotive manufacturing sector.

Dreschler said that unless the UK stays in the EU customs union a "tidal wave of ideology" influencing the government's Brexit approach could be to blame for the demise of certain sections of the nation’s industry.

The BBC reported that Dreschler had said UK-based car makers had come to him saying the industry would suffer unless we get "real frictionless trade", adding that there was "zero evidence" that trade deals outside the EU would provide any economic benefit to Britain.

"If we do not have a customs union, there are sectors of manufacturing society in the UK which risk becoming extinct," Mr Dreschler said. "Be in no doubt, that is the reality."

Dreschler is due to step down from his role at the CBI next week.

In the meantime, he has spoken up about the prospect of trade tariffs and border delays impacting the operations of car manufacturers and other areas of industry.

He also attacked a lack of clarity surrounding the government’s Brexit plans, something that Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, Mike Hawes, has also been keen to question.

Hawes is also keen to see continued freedom of movement for manufacturers and suppliers. Following the SMMT’s announcement that UK engine manufacturing had surpassed the one million mark in April for first time on record a fortnight ago, he said: “Securing a deal that keeps trade flowing freely with our biggest partner, the EU, is paramount.”

A Department for Exiting the EU spokesperson told the BBC that the Government would soon publish a White Paper with "detailed explanations of our ambition for a future relationship with the EU".

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