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UK lawmakers warn of 'serious' impacts from any no-deal EASA exit

UK members of parliament have warned that exit from the EU could be "costly and disruptive" for the nation's aerospace industry if no agreement can be reached to maintain membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Although the UK and EU today disclosed a draft deal on the terms of an "orderly withdrawal", there is no detail on how the aerospace or aviation sectors will be affected.

Maintaining harmonised rules with EASA will be key, says the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee in its report looking at the effects of Brexit on UK aerospace, noting that there is "nothing to be gained" from any "regulatory divergence" from EASA.

"A 'no deal' exit from EASA would be highly costly and disruptive to aerospace and aviation in the UK, and have serious adverse impacts in the UK and globally," says the report.

"A managed transition from EASA could be protracted and costly, for no practical benefit in terms of regulatory sovereignty."

Although, once it leaves the bloc, the UK would only be eligible for associate membership of EASA – lacking voting rights and still subject to rulings from the European Court of Justice – the committee feels that the country "is likely to retain greater influence from within... than without".

Access to markets outside the EU will also be aided by continued membership of EASA, it notes.

A World Trade Organization agreement on tariff-free trade for civil aircraft already applies to the sector, but the report says that the competitiveness of UK industry "could be adversely affected by any additional delays and bureaucracy encountered at the UK-EU border".

It adds: "The government should seek to secure as near-frictionless trade as possible between the UK and EU for the aerospace sector after Brexit, with the minimum amount of customs procedures."

An final deal on immigration rules must allow the sector to "access the full range of skills it requires" and to ease the intra-company transfer of staff.

"Clarity on the future UK-EU relationship" needs to be given "as soon as possible, so that firms can invest in confidence", the report concludes.

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