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UK Trade Body Warns of Drop in Production if Brexit Results in Tariffs with EU

British yearly automobile production will plunge by a third to 1 million by 2024 if Brexit results in tariffs with the European Union, a trade body cautioned on Tuesday, saying output would be lost to other nations.

Britons head to the elections in just over two weeks to elect a new government with PM Boris Johnson promising to pass his Brexit deal as soon as possible, while the opposition Labour Party would renegotiate and call a referendum next year.

If Johnson, leading in the polls, is re-elected, next year is ready to be ruled by talks with Brussels on future trading terms, with British auto manufacturers seeking the continuation of free and frictionless trade with their largest export market.

The sector, Britain’s most significant exporter of products, cautioned Tuesday that World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs on parts imported into Britain and exported autos would add over 3.2 billion pounds ($4 billion) a year to manufacturing prices in the worst-case scenario.

Production stood at 1.5 million vehicles in Britain in 2018, however, it has slumped by 16% so far this year, hit by a drop in demand for diesel autos, falling sales in China, and a hit to consumer confidence as a result of Brexit uncertainty.

Honda and Ford have declared plant closures this year; however, both blamed elements other than Brexit.

Peugeot has stated a decision to keep open its Vauxhall automobile factory in northern England relies on the final terms of Brexit.

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