Should the Airbus announcement be taken as a warning for the UK economy post-Brexit?
John Longworth, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave and former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, says NO.
The only way in which the recent announcement is a warning to the UK economy is as a reminder that business desires certainty – and the best way to provide certainty is to declare for a WTO global trade deal now. This would also send a clear message to the EU, while leaving open the possibility of a free trade arrangement. Yet this is an outcome that companies like Airbus are fervently seeking to frustrate.
The French-run Airbus is a classic multinational business, intrinsically wrapped up in the EU, that is trying to undermine the UK government’s negotiating position, just as it did during the referendum campaign
Airbus is claiming that it might relocate out of the UK because of uncertainty, but if we leave the customs union, nothing will change for it, as tariffs on aeronautical products are zero. Finally, it claims it may move production to countries outside the EU, like China and the US – which clearly can have nothing to do with Brexit.
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