Michel Barnier, EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has said he is “strongly opposed” to the prime minister’s Chequers proposals on future trade, as he advised European car manufacturers that they will have to use fewer British-made parts after Brexit.
In his most damning condemnation yet of the UK government’s plans, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said the British offer on customs was illegal and its suggestion of a “common rulebook” on goods would kill the European project.
Instead, in an intervention that will concern the 186,000 people directly employed by the car industry in the UK, Barnier warned European manufacturers that the streamlined system of imports and exports between the UK and the rest of Europe would come to an end.
The former French minister added that in order for EU carmakers to enjoy low tariffs on their exports around the world, they would need to shun British manufacturers.
“Outside of the internal market and the customs union, this involves customs formalities and controls that hinder ‘just in time’ production,” Barnier said. “In order for EU carmakers to benefit from the tariff benefits of the EU-Korea agreement (pdf), only a certain proportion of the services may be provided in a car in a third country. Businesses have to be careful not to use too many parts of Britain in their vehicles in the future.”