Trade Groups Warn on ‘No-deal’ Brexit
As negotiations between the UK and Europe on Brexit have made little progress to date, concerns are growing in the chemical industry that a UK exit from the economic zone without a deal on future trade arrangements will be highly detrimental to businesses. The UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019.
The concern is now so great that the UK’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and its counterpart, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), have issued a joint statement, stressing that no deal would be the ”worst possible outcome” for both sides.
The two trade groups said a transition period would be essential, as would be the continued free movement of skilled labor between the UK and the 27 member states of the EU, a point on which the British government is currently divided.
CIA and CEFIC are also calling for a “least disruptive” agreement on customs procedures as well as the establishment of concrete measures to facilitate investment and growth of the European chemical industry. Regulatory consistency to uphold a level playing field between the EU 27 and the UK is also necessary, they add.
CEFIC Director General Marco Mensink has expressed concern about potential disruption to the closely interconnected supply chains, which see cross-channel chemical trade of more than €40 billion. He commented: “Business needs to get clarity on the nature of the future relationship and the provisions that will apply in a transitional period as early as possible so it can timely prepare.”
Steve Elliott, the CIA’s chief executive, added: “We call on negotiators on both sides to make rapid progress, so the discussions can move to a future relationship that delivers growth for all parts of our continent.”