Avoid “Hard Brexit,” German Association Says

29.03.2018 -

Despite a provisional agreement between the European Council and the British government on a 21-month transition phase for the country’s exit from the EU, the German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) has warned that a “hard Brexit” is still a real possibility until a deal is ratified.

For the German chemical and pharmaceutical industries, the EU’s “cliff-edge” departure  would deal a severe blow to many supply chains, the association stressed in marking the first anniversary of the UK’s formal notification of its plans to exit the EU.

At the same time, the VCI urged that British producers continue to comply with the rules of the European chemicals regulation, REACH, which has stringent requirements for protecting human health and the environment.

In this respect, the association’s general manager, Utz Tillmann, said German chemical producers welcome British Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent remarks signaling the UK’s willingness to continue working with the European chemicals agency ECHA after Brexit. The country’s competence in evaluating and regulating chemicals would be missed, he said.

The EU’s chemicals legislation has developed “highly dynamically” over the past 15 years and now covers almost all of the value chains from manufacture to waste disposal or recovery, the VCI director noted. If registration and approvals for UK-made products were no longer available from one day to the next, many supply chains would be cut off immediately.

As buyers of German chemical products would be “massively impacted” by the interruption, Tillmann said it is of utmost importance that the EU draw up a contingency plan to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.