Past eventResearch Event

Which Manufacturing Sectors Are Most Vulnerable to Brexit?

6 February 2018 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Chatham House, London


Dr Michael Gasiorek, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Sussex; Managing Director, Interanalysis; Fellow, UK Trade Policy Observatory
Dr Ilona Serwicka, Research Fellow, Economics of Brexit, University of Sussex; Fellow, UK Trade Policy Observatory
Professor Alasdair Smith, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Sussex; Vice-Chancellor, University of Sussex (1998-2007); Fellow, UK Trade Policy Observatory
Chair: Professor Jim Rollo CMG, Deputy Director, UK Trade Policy Observatory; Associate Fellow, Global Economy and Finance Department, Chatham House



Trade in manufacturing constitutes 65 per cent of the UK's trade with the EU and nearly 50 per cent of the UK’s exports of manufacturing goes to the EU. In a new briefing paper, Chatham House looks at the possible effects of Brexit on UK manufacturing in much greater sectoral detail than has been done before. For 122 manufacturing sectors, the briefing paper estimates the exposure of these sectors to different versions of Brexit.

The scenarios depend on whether it is assumed the UK leaves the customs union and the single market, and on whether the UK makes a free trade agreement with the EU and is able to carry over existing free trade agreements with non-EU countries. In all cases, the briefing paper finds that introducing tariff and non-tariff barriers raises the prices that UK consumers and producers will face, and leads to reduced UK exports. But for some sectors, the increase in protection leads to higher UK output. The impact of Brexit is likely to be significantly different between high-tech and lower-tech sectors.

The UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) is a partnership between Chatham House and the University of Sussex. The UKTPO provides independent expert comment on, and analysis of, trade policy proposals for the UK as well as training for British policymakers and negotiators through tailored training packages.

For more information about the Observatory please click here or follow us on Twitter for regular news and updates: @UK_TPO.