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Minister tells SMMT conference that government is ‘listening’ to concerns over potential EV tariffs

  • Ministers ‘listening’ to car industry concerns over trade barriers
  • SMMT has worries about ‘rules of origin’ regulations and wants them to be delayed
  • Government promises to champion the interests of the automotive industry

Time 8:09 am, October 19, 2023

Ministers say they are listening to the concerns of the automotive industry after the SMMT raised concerns over future tariffs on EVs.

Car Dealer reported yesterday (Oct 18), that the trade body was calling for the introduction of so-called ‘rules of origin’ regulations to be delayed.

Under the measures, tariffs of ten per cent will be slapped on exports of electric cars between the UK and EU from January 1 if at least 45 per cent of their value does not originate in either the UK or EU.


SMMT boss Mike Hawes said the rules could result in an average price rise of £3,400 on EU-manufactured battery electric vehicles bought in the UK.

He told the SMMT virtual global trade conference that Europe was the sector’s number one trading partner ‘by some considerable distance’ and called for the government to step in.

In response to the concerns, business secretary Kemi Badenoch told the conference that recent investment decisions by car companies including Ford, Stellantis and BMW were a ‘huge vote of confidence’ in this country’s motor industry.


The Tory MP also insisted the government was committed to free trade and promised to continue to listen to what the motor industry is saying.

She said: ‘The UK’s automotive sector is world leading, and it demonstrates that the Government has the right plan for industry and is leading the way not just in the production of cars but in developing the zero emission and green technologies that will help us hit net zero.

‘And in the coming months, I hope to have more good news for you. I’m hoping to announce an Advanced Manufacturing Plan that will ensure the UK automotive industry remains competitive.

‘But we’re not going to do that by entering distortive subsidy battles. Protectionism is not the answer. We still believe in free trade, it is what’s going to keep us prosperous.

‘We will be acting in a targeted and strategic way. We’re going to build on our innovation ecosystem, we’re going to focus on sectors where we have comparative advantage and ensure the UK has a competitive business environment.

‘That is what the government’s strategy is, and most importantly we’ll continue to listen. I am your advocate in government and I will continue to champion your interests at every opportunity.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.



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