Wednesday 19 December 2018

Airbus chief slams Brexit and Trump

Donald Trump Photo: AP
Donald Trump Photo: AP

Benjamin D Katz

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders slammed Brexit and US President Donald Trump's pro-America trade policies as presenting twin threats to its business, while singling out the UK's vote to leave the European Union as posing the bigger issue.

The developments amount to a "double whammy" of protectionist hazards, Enders said in London at the annual dinner of the ADS trade association, which represents more than 1,000 aerospace, defence, security and space companies.

Brexit will weaken British industry and aerospace manufacturing in particular by increasing costs and curtailing competitiveness, the CEO said late Monday. While Airbus will seek to mitigate the impact on its business, "whatever we can do, the net result I'm afraid will be negative", he said.

The Toulouse, France-based company has 25 sites in the UK, including its main wing design and production facilities, while the wider supply chain extends to 672 sites and more than 5,000 "links or relations" in commercial aviation alone, Enders said.

Though Airbus should be protected from tariffs by an exemption granted to aerospace under World Trade Organization rules, it desperately requires clarity in areas such as future customs procedures and the movement of employees, according to the executive, who said employees make 80,000 business trips a year between the UK and other EU states.

At the event ADS President Colin Smith, called on Britain and the EU to negotiate a transition period for Brexit of not less than two years during which the status quo for businesses would prevail. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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