Brexit fix ‘staring us in the face’ as Siemens chief calls for change

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The former Chief executive of Siemens UK revealed one way of reducing the cost of food imports and inflation would be to rejoin the EU’s Single Market. Since the Brexit deal came into effect in January 2021, food manufacturers have faced new checks on food exports and imports from and to the European Union, with a drop in trade on both sides. Siemens’s former chief Jürgen Maier says re-joining the Single Market would slash all the bureaucracy and red tape that have come with leaving the EU.

Speaking to Sky News’s Business Review, Mr Maier said: “Do you know what I’m finding so fascinating about this? It’s the evidence that is now so stark that these costs are mounting up. 

“And there is a solution staring us in the face that would also solve the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

“But nobody yet dared talk about it. And that is the re-joining of the Single Market. 

“And again, that’s the single best thing that a Tory Prime Minister or the business secretary could do to signal more investment, to signal growth in our economy. 

“But I guess it’s unlikely to happen for now.”

Boris Johnson’s choice for a hard Brexit resulted in the loss of four freedoms to trade – in labour, capital, goods and services. As a result, the UK’s food imports dropped from £144billion in 2020 to £126billion in 2021. When 2021 is compared with 2019, the drop is 25 percent. 

Inside the Single Market, British exporters would no longer have to deal with Brexit red tapes and checks on goods travelling from Britain to the EU. 

British exporters now face a 15-20 percent increase in costs to send goods to continental Europe, the Financial Times’ Helen Thomas reported in a column, adding it is adding up to inflation.

The former Siemens Chief Executive says he agrees with a claim made by the Financial Times’ Helen Thomas who writes Britain’s food industry has been in a “rotten state” since Brexit. 

He said: “And it’s more of the same, which is that Brexit red tape is mounting up. 

“And of course, it’s making exporting more difficult. The worrying thing in the article is that it’s going to get worse because as of December, all animal-based products need regular veterinary certification, which as you can imagine, is a whole lot of yet more costs to food manufacturers.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan and Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood have both called for re-joining the EU Single Market, both saying the UK’s economy would cover more rapidly in the Single Market and the Northern Ireland Protocol issue would disappear. 

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“All these challenges would disappear if we dare to advance our Brexit model by rejoining the EU single market (the Norway model),” Mr Ellwood wrote in an article for the House Parliamentary magazine.

However, re-joining the EU Single Market would not only mean the free movement of goods and capital but also of people, political analyst Simon Usherwood told Express.co.uk 

The Conservative Party is unlikely to consider that option given it would break one of their key Brexit promises, Dr Usherwood added.

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