UK Manufacturing and Brexit | Campaigning | EEF

UK Manufacturing and Brexit


Manufacturers face a number of challenges after Brexit across trade, migration, regulation and other issues. Click here to explore EEF's range of tools and resources to help you prepare.



The debate about the type of Brexit deal the UK should negotiate with the EU is of vital interest to many UK manufacturers

The UK is currently the 9th largest industrial nation in the world and its strength is underpinned by its trading relationship with the EU: 

  • 52% of total manufactured exports by value went to the EU in the 12 months to April 2016
  • Manufacturing accounts for a whopping 45% of all UK exports.


The sector’s trading relationship with the EU is tightly interwoven, making complex pan-European supply chains commonplace. At the same time, manufacturers rely on skilled workers – frequently from the EU – to plug the UK’s longstanding and serious skills gap and enable productivity, innovation and growth.

Manufacturers have a vested interest in ensuring the Government negotiates a deal that supports their trade and growth ambitions and allows our sector to play a significant role in making post-Brexit Britain a success.

In a series of Brexit briefings looking at the impact of leaving the EU, EEF makes a number of recommendations designed to help businesses manage the UK’s exit from the single market and the likely changes in trade and immigration rules.


Read our series of Brexit briefings papers:



Loss of access to both the single market and the customs union would condemn the manufacturing sector to a painful and costly Brexit. Download the briefing to find out why...






According to the UK statistics authority, UK manufacturers currently employ 300,000 EU citizens, representing about 10% of the workforce. Employers in manufacturing companies need ongoing access to workers with higher level and other technical skills from the EU and worldwide to maintain their ability to invest, grow and train in Britain. Download the briefing to find out more...



Brexit-buttonWith the UK entering its formal negotiations to leave the EU, EEF sets out here what the key components of a new migration model should be. Download the briefing.







Rules of Origin are the criteria used to determine the economic nationality of a product, as opposed to the geographic nationality of a product. They are important in international trade because of the import duties (i.e. tariffs) and restrictions applied. After leaving the EU, both the EU and UK will have to agree a new set of rules covering the origin of the products traded between them. Find out more.





“UK regulation beyond Brexit”, EEF sets out its blueprint for how the UK can preserve the continuity of EU law after its exit from the EU. With manufacturers commercial cycles spanning March 2019, ensuring that they do not face a set complex and costly changes at this time is a key concern for EEF members. EEF’s seven key recommendations cover preserving the continuity of commercial agreements, ensuring that manufacturers have adequate warning of any changes and the thorny question of the future role of the European Court of Justice. Find out more.





The UK lacks independent trade negotiating experience, so it is essential it learns quickly from other countries’ experience.

In much of the Anglosphere (including Australia, Canada and the USA), close consultation with industry is a well-established and integrated pathway which feeds directly into any trade negotiating process. Find out more.





This briefing outlines the complexities of environmental policy in relation to Brexit, manufacturers’ frustrations around the lack of certainty from government and our key priorities for regulation in the post-Brexit period. Download the briefing to find out more.





Comres-buttonOne in six manufacturing businesses say business would become untenable for them if the UK reverted to WTO tariffs, increased border checks on people and goods.

While 83% say they are not prepared for a no-deal Brexit a quarter say that as a result of Brexit they have put investment on hold, or are expecting to lose out on investment, lose skilled workers and new contracts.

Download the report



Brexit-making-it-work-buttonBrexit  - Making it work for manufacturing is an Audit of the Government’s White Paper. It highlights four key outcomes which industry needs to see from the final negotiations.

Download the report






Free-trade-buttonWhat are Free Trade agreements and how can they help your company? Download this briefing to get insight into how long FTA negotiations take, the benefits they bring and what the prospects for a UK-EU FTA are.

Download the report





If you have any questions or concerns about what Brexit means for you and your business, or if you would like to share your views, email



Further reading

Blogs and Media Releases

intelligencebriefingspotlight EEF Westminster Weekly

Sign up to receive the EEF Westminster Weekly - our regular round up of campaigning activities

Read more >
Brexit-trade-paper Webinar: Managing the migration exit from Brexit

As more and more EU workers leave the UK, and fewer choose to come, manufacturers must act now to prevent a skills meltdown.

Register now>
Toolkit spotlight Brexit Toolkit

Use our exclusive self-audit tool to help you prepare for trading with the EU after Brexit.

Find out more>
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