June 20, 2017 / 9:00 AM / 3 months ago

UK car industry warns Brexit cliff edge could permanently damage sector

FILE PHOTO: Vauxhall cars are seen for sale at a car show room near Vauxhall's plant in Luton, Britain, March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo.

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s car industry set out a list of Brexit demands to Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on Tuesday, warning that a return to World Trade Organisation rules could permanently damage the successful sector.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said Britain needed to retain the right to approve vehicles for use in the European Union, maintain passporting rights for automotive finance firms and have access to EU trade deals with nations such as Japan.

Britain’s car industry, which is on course for record output by the end of the decade, is concerned that tariffs and a loss of access to its biggest export market could hurt investment and ultimately risk the viability of plants.

May failed to win an outright majority in a snap election, weakening her authority and prompting differing views within her cabinet and ruling Conservatives over whether Britain should remain in the European customs union, which guarantees unfettered trade, when it leaves the EU.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden

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