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Transatlantic trade deal could boost region’s auto industry

Helen_Melville

A trade and investment deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States – which is not expected to be finalised before next year – stands to bring massive benefits to the automotive industry in the West Midlands.

The implications of such a partnership, and the results of its economic impact on the region, will be explored at a seminar on 5 November being organised by the British American Business Council in the Midlands (BABC) in collaboration with BritishAmerican Business, Jaguar Land Rover and Europe Direct Birmingham.

The event is the latest in a series of “Open for Business” workshops being held in the UK to raise awareness and encourage debate on the subject. To book your place contact Helen Melville by emailing her atH.Melville@birmingham-chamber.com or email Nicolas Godeau at policy@babinc.org

The deal is one of the most prominent topics on the political trade and investment agenda and completed the 11th round of negotiations in Miami last week.

Helen Melville (pictured), BABC’s Birmingham-based manager, said that the event was particularly relevant to businesses involved with the UK automotive sector as well as specialists in policy, public and European affairs, regulatory affairs and IP, commercial directors and procurement managers. However, it would also appeal to representatives from local and national chambers and trade associations as well as political representatives.

She said: “Independent studies already suggest that TTIP would create jobs and generate growth across the EU – and that tariff reduction and greater regulatory alignment will help European automakers to win the lion’s share of TTIP gains. Whatever the size of a company – big or small – this proposed agreement will have a noticeable impact.

“Aided by a panel of senior experts, we will specifically be focusing on TTIP’s impact on the automotive sector and the West Midlands as the UK’s cluster for the industry. However, there will be plenty of opportunities for delegates to share their own experience in regards to transatlantic trade and investment and to ask questions on the proposed trade deal.”

Taking part in the 5 November event, which is being held at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, near Warwick, are Chris Scott, Jaguar Land Rover Senior Manager, Global Automotive Safety, Regulations, Compliance & Homologation, and Rachel Eade, National Automotive Sector Lead at Business Growth Service.

With 30 years motor industry experience, Chris is responsible for ensuring Jaguar Land Rover’s products meet the standards and regulations in each of the 178 markets in which it sells.  Chris has teams based in the UK, USA and China.

Rachel, who was awarded an MBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list for services to the automotive industry, has over 20 years experience in business support and development, specialising in the automotive supply chain since 1996. She is a former operations manager of Accelerate and head of MAS-Auto.

To date, the UK produces over 1.5 million vehicles and 2.5 million engines every year. One of the EU’s five top carmakers, it exports around 80 percent of its production, while around 2,350 UK companies (employing in the region of 82,000 people) regard themselves as automotive suppliers.

Currently, the US accounts for 18 percent of all EU vehicle exports, while more than one in eight cars imported to the EU – the largest economy in the world – comes from America. However, it is predicted that overcoming trade barriers could see a rise in such a trade of anything from 70 percent to 350 percent between 2017 and 2027.