Brexit: The British boating industry in waiting

Brexit, negotiations are also starting for the yachting sector

What impact will Brexit have on the marine industry across the Channel in 2020 and beyond? British Marine, the yachting professionals' union in the United Kingdom, invites its members to prepare for all eventualities and is mobilising for negotiations.

Brexit: boat sales unchanged during transition

After almost four years of negotiations, twists and turns and successive postponements, Brexit finally took place on 31 January 2020. The United Kingdom has officially left the European Union. But the moorings are not quite cast off and there is a one-year transition period until 31 December 2020. During this period, Great Britain and the EU will be sailing together. The consequences for boating professionals will not be visible in 2020. "It is important for our members to know that our relationship with the European Union, at least during the transition period, will remain the same as it is at present, and that it is 'business as usual'," says Lesley Robinson, Chief Executive of British Marine, the UK's yachting trade association.

A crucial market for the British boating industry

As in many sectors, the European Union is an essential outlet for the British yachting industry. Half of the sector's exports are to the EU. The market is essential for these companies, as boatbuilders export 95% of their production. Recognising the importance of the issue to its members, British Marine says it will "continue to engage with the Government to ensure the interests of its members are protected throughout the negotiations."

Consider the hard Brexit

While negotiations in recent years have become accustomed to turnarounds, many observers are sceptical about the possibility of an agreement before the end of 2020. British Marine thus invites its members to prepare themselves for the eventuality of a hard Brexit and a return to the application of the rules of the World Trade Organization. While the favourable exchange rate for the pound sterling could be an advantage for UK-made boats and equipment, the marine industry, like other industries, risks being penalised by a heavy reliance on supplies from the EU, which may be taxed on importation.

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