Responding to comments made by the Secretary of State for International Trade, the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space trade association ADS said a customs union agreement with the EU after Brexit would support continued growth in exports from the UK both inside and outside the EU27.

ADS Chief Economist Jeegar Kakkad said:

“Our industries rely on frictionless trade to stay competitive and serve international customers, both in Europe and around the world.

“New customs barriers affecting our trade with the EU could cost our sectors up to £1.5bn a year, and damage their ability to continue benefiting from the global growth opportunities we currently enjoy.

“Aerospace is a global business and UK companies use deeply integrated pan-European supply chains, taking advantage of shared skills, innovation and business connections.

“The EU remains our biggest export market, but the strength of our existing customs union arrangements has helped UK aerospace exports to non-EU nations more than double in the 10 years to 2016.

“Agreeing a customs union arrangement with the EU would be a pragmatic solution, helping our industries continue to grow and to find new customers for the products of our ingenuity around the world.”


Aerospace export statistics

In 2016:

  • Exports to EU: £9bn – 30% of total UK aerospace exports, by far the single biggest market.
  • Imports from EU: £5.5bn – 21% of total UK aerospace imports.

Between 2006-2016:

  • Aerospace Exports to EU nations: Rose by 52%
  • Aerospace Exports to non-EU: Rose by 166%