28 February 1997

UK spurns money union at its peril

FAILING to join a single European currency will destroy the UKs ability to compete in world markets.

In an exclusive interview with FW at the French SIMA show this week, Jean-Pierre Rosso, chief executive officer of machinery manufacturer Case, warned that the UK would pay a heavy price if it refused to sign up for monetary union.

"The UKs competitiveness abroad would suffer because its exports would become too expensive," warned Mr Rosso. If the UK remained outside monetary union, sterling would be linked closer to the US dollar, he suggested. Since the Euro is likely to be set at a lower level against the dollar, the £ would strengthen even further, he explained.

"History tells us it is never easy to get the £ down against the dollar. It will also be difficult to realign it with the European currency, leading to higher prices for UK exports."

The UK is now well-placed to take advantage of a single European currency, he suggested. "A single currency is good for Europe. It will match the needs of the single market and will accelerate the pace of CAP reform in countries such as Germany and France," said Mr Rosso.

The UK is linked to the Continent more than ever and operating with a single European currency could only strengthen the countrys competitiveness,

he said.

(Full SIMA report in Machinery on page 65.)

Jean-Pierre Rosso:The UK will lose its competit-

iveness if it opts out of single currency.