Politics

Brexit bombshell: European companies demand Brussels COMPROMISE with Britain

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European vehicle and food companies called on Mr Barnier to lower the control levels on trade between the EU and the UK to avoid causing damage to both sides. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association highlighted the EU’s rules on car battery pack as detrimental for the sector.

The EU states car battery packs must have no more than 56 percent “non-originating” material.

In a letter to Mr Barnier, the group wrote: “Alternatives must be considered.

“It is critical to ensure that motor vehicle exporters are not burdened by substantial tariffs on trade with the UK when there is no EU battery interests that would be compromised by a flexible approach.”

In a separate letter published on October 7 representatives from the “road, air, maritime, rail, manufacturing and logistics sectors” urged European leaders to find solutions with Britain on data access.

They wrote: “In the transport, logistics and mobility sectors, innovation relies increasingly on the processing and exchange of large amounts of personal and non-personal data between multiple actors. In addition, innovative solutions in goods and passenger transport such as connected vehicles, smart cities and digital platforms have led to an increase in data generation.

“We know how crucial data is to gain insights on customers, routes or vehicle loads, as well as how commercially sensitive such data can be.

“We believe that data and digitalisation provides new opportunities throughout logistics and mobility systems, and for EU citizens and businesses.

“Moreover, efforts to digitalise the transport sector will also contribute to achieving the EU Green Deal objectives.

“Nevertheless, we are acutely aware of the challenges to be overcome to unlock the potential of the data economy.”

The ‘level playing field (LPF)’ is key to the EU as it addresses concerns the UK might undercut European legislation in a bid to attract foreign investment post-Brexit

Mr Barnier previously said an LPF is “the most fundamental point where we still have major differences”.

He added: “The prime minister has stressed that alignment [with European rules] would breach sovereignty.

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“This question seriously throws the chances of an agreement into doubt.”

Mr Barnier told diplomats that “if no progress is registered on LPF, there is a risk that that leaves us unprotected against unfair competition”.

He added David Frost, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, had suggested an “independent authority that would oversee state aid”, but added “the UK seems to have blocked any progress over the last two weeks”.

Food and Drink manufacturers wrote to Mr Barnier and Lord Frost expressing their concerns about the strict rules on their sector.

They wrote: “An area of real concern that is shared by food and drink businesses on both sides is around the damaging impacts rules of origin could have for our highly integrated supply chains.

“A tariff-free preferential trade agreement will be meaningless if businesses are unable to access these preferential tariff rates.

“In the case of food and drink, this will only be possible if both sides agree to put in place bespoke rules of origin.”

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