Business secretary Kwasi KwartengBusiness secretary Kwasi Kwarteng


Business secretary to give keynote alongside car industry execs at Automotive Summit

  • SMMT reveals business secretary will join line up at Automotive Summit
  • Kwasi Kwarteng will join Ed Miliband to give political keynote speeches
  • SMMT chief exec says delay to final easing of restrictions was ‘disappointing’
  • But industry body welcomes outline trade deal with Australia

Time 2 months ago

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will be joining automotive executives at a major industry event.

The secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy will join his shadow colleague Ed Miliband at the SMMT International Automotive Summit on June 29.

Both MPs will be giving political keynote speeches at the event.


VW Group managing director Alex Smith and KPMG’s head of automotive Richard Peberdy will also be joining the line up.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘Boosting international trade, enhancing the UK’s competitiveness and investing in digitalisation whilst on the road to zero – this is the immense challenge before the UK automotive sector, and the focus of the SMMT’s International Automotive Summit 2021.’

Tickets for the event are free of charge to SMMT members and can be booked on the trade body’s website. 

In his weekly briefing, Hawes also said the news that the final easing of lockdown measures would be delayed until July was ‘disappointing’.


He said: ‘Like so many others directly affected, [the sector] understands the need for a continuation of restrictions to help protect the population, in particular from the highly transmissible Delta variant.

‘It is vital, however, that this extension is the last and that government support measures stay in place for as long as are required. 

‘To help boost recovery, we need large scale business events, which drive demand and growth, to resume, for confidence to return amongst businesses and consumers and the country to open up for international travel and trade, free of restrictions.’

Hawes also welcomed the outline trade deal with Australia which would see car manufacturers become more competitive with international rivals.

The agreement in principle on a trade deal between the UK and Australia needs to be ‘tariff free’, says the SMMT, for exports down under to increase.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the UK sold 20,000 cars to Australia in 2019, compared with 578,000 to the EU.

Hawes added: ‘Trade is the foundation of this sector’s success, and so the agreement in principle of a trade deal between the UK and Australia this week is welcome. 

‘If tariffs can be avoided, making UK manufacturers more competitive against international rivals, there is some potential to increase our vehicle exports down under. 

‘Given the integrated nature of the automotive industry, however, and the importance of proximity, we must also ensure smooth trade with markets closer to home.’

Four out of every five cars made in the UK are exported.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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