CEFIC Pleased With Draft Brexit Deal

23.11.2018 -

In an initial reaction to news on Nov. 22 that the UK and the EU have sealed a draft agreement on Brexit, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) said it was pleased with the outcome.

If the agreement is signed on Nov. 25 as planned it will be “another small step towards the much needed certainty that business has been calling for,” the association representing chemical producers said. “From the outset the chemical industry’s priorities have been frictionless tariff-free trade, regulatory consistency and access to skilled people.”

In a joint statement, CEFIC’s director general, Marco Mensink, and Steve Elliott, chief executive of the UK’s Chemical Industries Association, CIA, said they believe that “this political declaration will continue to keep alive a successful resolution to our industry’s concerns.”

In particular, the executives said, “the explicit reference to exploring the possibility of cooperation of UK authorities with Union agencies such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) the European Chemicals agency (ECHA) and the European Aviation safety agency is an important platform for our industry. Given this commitment, chemical businesses in the EU 27 and the UK will be working with negotiators to ensure the UK’s continued participation in the European Chemicals Agency.”

The Brexit package will be voted on at next Sunday’s EU summit in Brussels by the heads of state in the other 27 EU member states and then ratified. Both the UK and the European Parliament will also have to give their thumbs-up. Parliaments of individual EU countries will not vote. That the deal faces trouble in the UK Parliament is a cause for concern that the fragile thread on which the new agreement hangs could be severed.

If all instances approve, the UK would formally exit the EU on Mar. 29, 2019 and enter a transition period lasting until the end of 2020, during which a Free Trade Agreement between the two sides would be negotiated. The withdrawal agreement also allows for the transition period to be extended.

CEFIC is backing the CIA’s demand for post-Brexit associate membership in ECHA.