On March 29th, 2019 the UK will leave the European Union, it is clear from daily news that this is possibly one of the most complex scenarios a UK Government has ever had to deal with.
This very important subject will offer potential opportunities and no doubt threats for the pump industry. To assist BPMA members in understanding Brexit, a group of BPMA Council members have held meetings to discuss the possible issues and opportunities and from this they have written a position paper. This has subsequently been approved by the full BPMA Council and then endorsed by members at the recent Annual General Meeting.
Since then the position paper has been circulated to MP’s, civil servants and government departments dealing with Brexit and has received a positive response.
The make-up of this position paper is detailed below:
About the BPMA
Established in 1941, and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 2009, the British Pump Manufacturers Association’ (BPMA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing the interests of UK and Irish manufacturers and suppliers of liquid pumps and other pump related equipment.
BPMA members account for approximately 85% of the total UK production of pumps, of which half a billion pounds worth of pumps is exported to Europe and over one billion pounds worth of pumps is imported from Europe to the UK. It is estimated that the pump industry employs around 10,000 people in the UK.
Leaving the European Union
Leaving the European Union will affect all of us in the UK in some way. The BPMA have surveyed its members and the following issues are major areas of concern.
The Single Market and Customs Union
If Britain decides to leave the Single Market, there is no point in being part of the Customs Union; leaving would allow the British Government to subsequently agree its own trade deals. International trade deals however are known to take many years to agree and it will require a lengthy transition period to avoid major issues within the pump sector.
The best option from an economic perspective is for Britain stay in the single market or the customs union and to continue with “Free Trade” in both directions with unrestricted movement of capital within a company across Europe.
The British Government may give a new name to a new agreement with the European Union; however it is imperative that there are no barriers to trade in either direction.
EU Nationals and possible Skills crisis
Almost 80% of our industry employs EU Nationals and they wish to continue to do so. We believe that a controlled movement of people with a certain level of skills will continue to be a benefit to our sector and the UK in general.
As a manufacturing sector our industry uses staff within a shop floor environment to a board room, from technical design office to on site commissioning and we currently have EU nationals in many of these positions.
Universities should be able to continue to offer placements for overseas students from within and outside of the EU. They should be given a privileged status to remain in the UK 2 years after their tertiary education before applying for permanent residency.
We request that any future agreements regarding EU Nationals working in the UK does not create a skills shortage in our sector.
CE Marking and the Declaration of Conformity of Products
Pumps placed on the market within the EU are currently required to meet certain safety, environment and energy related Directives and regulations. The CE mark along with the declaration of conformity gives customers the satisfaction that pump products meet these strict requirements. After Brexit pumps sold into the EU will still require a CE mark and to meet all of the Directives and regulations.
Our sector requests that the CE mark remains without change along with retaining the Technical File in the UK if needed and using UK Notified Bodies.