Ceramics industry leaders have welcomed the trade deal with the European Union.
The government and EU leaders have announced that a trade agreement has finally been struck between the two sides, after months of intensive negotiations and four-and-a-half years after the Brexit referendum.
While the full details have yet to emerge, the British Ceramic Confederation has reacted positively to the news that a no-deal end to the transition period has finally been averted.
The BCC has been pressing the government to reach a deal by the end of the year. Aorund 57 per cent of its members’ exports go to the EU, and firms were worried that no-deal could have hit sales and led to job cuts.
Dr Laura Cohen, chief executive of the BCC, said: “We are hugely relieved that government has agreed a trade deal with the EU. It is essential this is ratified on both sides.
“This is good news for the UK ceramic industry and will give manufacturers some much-needed confidence as they look to recover from the impacts of Covid-19 and continue tackling the challenges of decarbonising while staying internationally competitive.
“We await more essential details from government on the practical implications. However, at this late stage businesses can do no more to prepare before January 1. While the deal is not fully comprehensive, it at least provides a foundation to build on in future.”
While no-deal has now been avoided, the BCC says manufacturers will still face a ‘bleak 2021’ if further government support for the sector is not forthcoming.
Dr Cohen added: “This is a very challenging time for the UK and our ceramics industry. We need more focussed support for those supplying into sectors such as hospitality and aviation that will remain badly affected by the pandemic for some time. We continue to call for support for energy-intensive industries on Covid-related energy costs. Without this many of our members face a bleak 2021.”