Ford backs PM May’s Brexit plan to prevent no-deal ‘catastrophe’

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Ford Motor backed UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Thursday to prevent a no-deal “catastrophe,” but stated she still required to guarantee long-term frictionless trade, which is important to the future of its plants in Britain.

Ford Europe boss Steven Armstrong informed Reuters the company was thinking about importing more vehicles into Britain prior Brexit to avoid any disruption if May’s deal is not authorized by lawmakers.

It is also collaborating with suppliers to reduce delays and looking at potentially adapting its own port at Dagenham, located in southeast England, he added.

Britain is due to exit the world’s largest free trade bloc on March 29, but there are issues over what happens if lawmakers decline May’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union in a key vote next month, consisting possible snarl-ups at ports and motorways that would hit trade.

Armstrong stated May’s deal with Brussels “isn’t perfect”, but permitted the firm to plan.

“A no-deal Brexit would be a catastrophe … It’s important that we get the agreement ratified that’s on the table at the moment,” he stated.

Manufacturers are also looking for a guarantee of free-flowing trade to prevent delays and extra customs checks at ports when future trading rules kick in. Under the terms of May’s agreement, that should be when a transition period finishes in 2020.

“I keep pushing the point that we need frictionless trade at the borders as well,” Armstrong stated. “That’s not quite crystal clear in the withdrawal agreement.”

Britain’s car industry employs more than 850,000 people and depends on the speedy movement of lorries, engines, vans, cars and parts to and from the continent on daily basis.

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