Brexit halves new investment in British car industry

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief Mike Hawes said the British government’s current position — leaving the EU single market and the customs union — would hurt the car industry. (Reuters)
Updated 26 June 2018
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Brexit halves new investment in British car industry

LONDON: Uncertainty over Brexit has halved new investment in the British car industry as Prime Minister Theresa May’s government current plans for trade after Britain leaves the EU are unrealistic, the biggest car manufacturing lobby said on Tuesday.
Public announcements of fresh investments into new plant, machinery, tooling and equipment, models and model development fell to £347.3 million ($461.1 million) between January and June 21, 2018, down from £647.4 million in the first half of 2017.
“There is growing frustration in global boardrooms at the slow pace of negotiations,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
“Government must rethink its position on the customs union.”
At stake is the future of one of Britain’s few manufacturing success stories since the 1980s: a car industry employing over 800,000 people and generating turnover of $110 billion.
With only nine months left until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU, little is yet clear about how trade will flow as Prime Minister May, who is grappling with a rebellion in her party, is still trying to strike a deal with the bloc.
Under the current timetable, both London and Brussels hope to get a final Brexit deal in October to give enough time to ratify it by Brexit day in March 2019, though few diplomats expect the deal to be struck until months later.
The nature of the future relationship with the world’s biggest trading bloc remains unclear and there is a growing sense of nervousness among business leaders about the prospect of Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal or with a deal that would silt up the arteries of trade.
Around 52 percent of the UK’s total $1.1 trillion trade in goods last year was with the EU so May wants to sign a free trade agreement and negotiate an as yet relatively undefined customs arrangement to ensure as frictionless trade as possible.
SMMT chief Hawes said the British government’s current position — leaving the EU single market and the customs union — would hurt the industry.
The EU customs union clubs the 28 EU members in a duty-free area where there is a common import tariff for non-EU goods.
“The current position, with conflicting messages and red lines goes directly against the interests of the UK automotive sector which has thrived on single market and customs union membership,” he said.
“There is no credible ‘plan B’ for frictionless customs arrangements, nor is it realistic to expect that new trade deals can be agreed with the rest of the world that will replicate the immense value of trade with the EU.”


Owner of Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank appoints chairman and CEO

Updated 21 April 2019
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Owner of Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank appoints chairman and CEO

  • Eraiqat is currently group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)
  • Eraiqat will serve as chairman at Al Hilal in addition to his current role at ADCB

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Islamic lender Al Hilal Bank said on Sunday its owner, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, had appointed Alaa Eraiqat as the bank's chairman.
Eraiqat is currently group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), which is expected to merge with Al Hilal Bank and Union National Bank (UNB) in the first half of 2019.
Eraiqat will serve as chairman at Al Hilal in addition to his current role at ADCB.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Council, a sovereign wealth fund which combined with Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala last year, also appointed Amr Saad Al Menhali as chief executive of Al Hilal Bank.