In response to Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, call to stay in the Customs Union, Simon Boyd, FinstD Managing Director wrote to her saying:
I couldn’t disagree more with your view that we should remain in a customs union with the EU.
I write this open letter as a businessman and newly appointed Councillor to the CBI’s Manufacturing Council in response to your speech about the issue at the University of Warwick. (January 22)
REIDsteel, which I am Managing Director of, is a medium sized company specialising in the design, manufacturing and construction of all types of steel structures and their cladding envelopes. We were founded in 1919 and in our near 100 years of trading throughout the UK, we have also exported to over 140 countries.
We may not have the loudest voice compared to big businesses with vested interests in remaining closely tied to the EU, but I have been offered and have accepted a seat on the Manufacturing Council to give my views and add to the debate within the CBI.
The customs union (along with the single market and ECJ) has and continues to damage our country’s trading opportunities. Not only does it prevent us striking our own international deals, but it damages other countries though the protectionist ideals that underpin the EU.
Evolving economies need our trade, not our aid. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to take back control of our trading arrangements and for the good of all.
The Irish border issue has been weaponised by those who wish to undermine our negotiators in the hope of that we get a “soft Brexit” or that we might change our mind. The only Brexit that will truly work for our country is a clean Brexit. Free of the single market, the customs union and the ECJ, with full regulatory control.
We need to see a return of modernised British Standards (seen by many as the finest in the world) and an end to uncompetitive and damaging EU directives and regulations.
Your speech risks damaging the Government’s hand in negotiations just before the next phase of negotiations. It increases the odds of a ‘bad deal’ at a time when we should be clearly setting out our case for a clean Brexit and looking forward with confidence rather than back in fear.
The position you have taken is incredibly disappointing when the mood of many in business, and the country at large, is one of great optimism in a future outside of the EU and the customs union.
There is a great prize to be won for our businesses, employees and our country. This prize will be diminished or lost if we were to remain tied to the EU through its damaging customs union.
Simon Boyd, FinstD