Last week a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling opened the door on the United States of America imposing tariffs on Airbus and other goods coming from the UK. These tariffs are expected to hit us to the tune of $7.5 billion.
Airbus directly employs around 13,500 jobs and an additional 110,000 jobs are linked via supply chains. The United States use of the WTO to restrict free trade is deeply concerning.
Free trade makes us all better off and these new tariffs will also harm the US. Indeed, Airbus employs (directly and indirectly) 275,000 in the United States. Yet again President Donald Trump has decided to pursue a trade war instead of pursuing wealth for all countries.
I asked the new trade minister what action he has taken. He said he has spoken with the other industries hit by these new tariffs and will be talking with the US Ambassador to the UK. We can’t afford to waste any time if we are to end this trade war. The UK Government need to act quickly and decisively if we are to reinstate free trade for one of the biggest employers in Flintshire.
Tom Enders, outgoing Chief Executive of Airbus, told us that a no deal Brexit would be catastrophic for the company and as a result would put its future in Broughton at risk.
He joins a list of other organisations – like the British Medical Association (which is made up of our doctors) and businesses (like the joint letter from all major supermarkets) – who have stated that a no deal Brexit would put our country at risk. We must listen to these experts and act upon their advice.
I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he had met the outgoing Chief Executive and if he would act upon his advice.
I cannot stand idly by and see our jobs and local economy put at risk.
It is time for the UK Government to wake up to the realities of Brexit. The announcement by Airbus – as well as BMW and Siemens – should make them realise that it is time to put forward a decent Brexit settlement and not one based in a strange dreamworld.
The UK Government’s Brexit negotiations are failing as they can’t even decide amongst themselves what they want. This is putting decent employers in a terrible position where they cannot plan for the future.
1,500 people live in Delyn and work at the Airbus plant in Broughton. We cannot lose these jobs and the Government should get its act together and agree with me, and the Labour Party, that we should become a member of a Customs Union and a version of the European Economic Area. This will secure our trading partnership with the EU and jobs.
But this isn’t just a question of trading relationships it’s about aviation standards. The Government couldn’t promise me today that the UK will remain part of these vital bodies. Without membership of this body planes won’t fly: as simple as that.