Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Should Gasket Manufacturing Plants Operate in the UK or Should They Import?


The manufacturing sector in the United Kingdom is world-renowned for its quality of engineering and innovation in many different fields of manufacturing. Many of the world's biggest companies have moved to the United Kingdom because of the reputation they hold within the industries that understand the importance of the quality of their product. With the United Kingdom often leading the way in design and the implementation of production. But, things have changed now with many companies looking to relocate or downsize their operations due to the Brexit referendum of 2016 in which they voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union after 47 years.

Believing that the cost of doing business in the United Kingdom could get too expensive when compared to countries like the United States or China the two main powerhouses of commercial production. The European Union as a whole being able to compete with both of these countries is another attractive option for relocation, Germany alone has a manufacturing sector worth over 800 billion dollars annually. For the United Kingdom to compete and maintain its status as an industrial hub with exports such as household materials, pharmaceuticals, defense industry exports, and countless other products ranging from rubber gasket material, sheet metal, and food and drink items.

Are There Other Reasons to Consider Importing Gaskets?

For any business, the main concern is profit but quality should not be sacrificed, after all a cheap product is often cheap for a reason and can have serious repercussions regarding the business. Reputation is key to continued success. With the United Kingdom having already built that reputation over many years it is hard to see why they would need to import products that can be manufactured locally. But there is so much global competition in all industries it is still worth considering imports and many are made to a high standard.

Importing a product can save money but may not be of a higher enough standard to pass the quality tests by the government or fail to meet industry standards and be permitted for use. Every country imports products but are encouraged to try and use homegrown talent and expertise to help boost the economy and keep employment levels high.

The Potential Benefits of the United Kingdom Leaving the EU

Whilst the debate still continues inside and outside of the United Kingdom of the advantages of leaving the European Union it has now happened and they will have to deal with the repercussions good or bad. One of the main arguments for leaving is that the United Kingdom is now free to pursue free trade agreements with other nations including the United States, Japan, India, and China, and not have to do so as a member of the European Union. This could well be an advantage when it comes to imports and exports.

Also with the freedom of being a sovereign nation, the United Kingdom does not have to follow the strict guidelines and bureaucracy that was imposed before. Whilst some companies and manufacturers have said they leave the UK, many have also expressed a desire to move to the United Kingdom with the new trade agreements that countries and trading blocks could be very beneficial to their country and consumers.

The Potential Negatives From Leaving the European Union

By leaving the European Union which as a collective is a world powerhouse of manufacturing and business and whilst now free to trade on different terms with other nations it did have benefits for trade, providing free access to the European market which has a population of more than 500 million potential customers and clients. Potentially losing access to these markets, may harm job security for many within the United Kingdom and the future growth of the economy. Other numerous concerns exist, including:

  • Security: Being part of a union allows for better cooperation between the security services and police. Helping to prevent cross-border crime and terrorism.
  • Consumer Products: With access to such a large market the consumer may have to pay more each year for goods including food items. The ports have to conduct more checks and this slows down the movement of goods, creating higher costs for suppliers.
  • Foreign Affairs: Being part of the European Union can help the United Kingdom help with international policy being part of a strong group of nations that has much influence around the world.

There are strong and equal arguments to be made for leaving and staying in the European Union with the trade advantages being high on many people's minds. With the referendum of 2016 leaving more questions than answers there are many important issues still to be resolved.

The Issues with Europeans Being Granted the Right to Stay

One of the potential problems facing many of the workforces in the United Kingdom is without the freedom of movement and the right to work in any of the European Union countries will now have to apply to remain in the United Kingdom. With over 3 million EU citizen currently living and working in the UK within many different sectors contributing to the economy and helping to fill the positions that may not have been filled by local residents both the EU and UK are trying to come to an agreement that would allow people to stay and still have the basic rights they enjoyed before like the free national health service and pensions.

Some people may choose to leave but most have said they are settled and happy to remain, having chosen to stay is good news for the United Kingdom. The loss of so many talented people would be a huge blow to the manufacturing sector, financial institutions, and the health care system.

The Main Issue for Many, Northern Ireland

This is a delicate subject matter for people on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. After years of sectarian violence and a very strict border policy by the United Kingdom with cameras, checkpoints, and armed soldiers patrolling. With the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 being signed it was decided that the border would be opened and freedom of movement between the two countries would be unchecked and the security services leave.

This pleased many people and had a terrific effect on trade between the two countries. With Brexit and the need for goods to be inspected at borders and ports both coming to the United Kingdom and leaving to EU member states the fear that the return of borders could spark a return to violence which most citizens do not want to see. It is expected by early 2021 that the UK and the EU will come to a special arrangement regarding this sensitive issue in an effort to please all sides.


With many uncertainties regarding the import and export issues the world still faces with regard to the decision for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union and what it could mean for trade and the manufacturing sector, there is one thing that is not in doubt, with a strong and talented workforce the UK can continue to be at the forefront development and design for many years to come.

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
246 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
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Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames