EU Customs Union

Part of Petition - Tenancy of ST Michael’S Gate, Parnwell – in the House of Commons at 7:16 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland 7:16 pm, 2nd November 2016

Let me come on to give some of those strong reasons. If we were to leave, we would face tariffs ranging generally between 5% and 10% on our exports. Even more significantly, our exporters would have to comply with the rules of origin. I think this is the biggest problem. I have the last television manufacturer in Britain, Cello Electronics, in my constituency. It imports a lot of components from China, puts the televisions together and sells them into the European market. The OECD estimates that the cost of filling in all the forms and complying with the rules of origin would add 24% to the export costs of selling into the European market. That would wipe out firms such as Cello, which, as I say, is in my constituency.

In Norway, which is outside the customs union, we know that some exporters find the bureaucracy of the rules of origin so burdensome that they prefer to pay the tariffs. This is really what the Nissan problem was. Belonging to the customs union was the first thing the Japanese Government listed in their hopes for what our deal would be, but the Government cannot take a factory-by-factory approach. Let us look at some of the big industries that would be affected: the automotive industry employs 450,000 people; aerospace 110,000 people; pharmaceuticals, such as Glaxo in my constituency, 93,000 people. All those industries have the same complex integrated international supply chains and would be badly hit were we to leave the customs union.