European Chemical Industry Warns of Hard Brexit

17.01.2019 -

Following the UK Parliament’s rejection of prime minister Theresa May’s plan for an orderly Brexit, European business still lacks clarity about the state of play after Mar. 29, 2019, and chemical companies still can’t make decisions on production, investment and employment, said Marco Mensink, director general of the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), commenting on the Jan. 15 vote in London.

“We can’t stress this enough, but having certainty on the arrangements between the EU and the UK is critical to avoid serious supply chain disruption,” Mensink added. The European chemical industry association continues to ask that a solution be found, and hopes that a “no-deal Brexit’ can still be avoided,” he stressed.

“From the onset of the Brexit negotiations, the chemical industry on both sides of the channel has called for an agreement that would keep frictionless tariff-free trade in chemicals, ensure regulatory consistency between the UK and EU-27 and enable access to skilled people to continue with the sector’s R&D programs,” the CEFIC chief noted.

Despite the unsatisfactory situation, Mensink said that, as in the past, the chemical producers’ grouping will continue to work with its UK member Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and UK-based companies to inform policymakers about its position.

 In a separate comment, Utz Tillmann, general manager of the German chemical industry association VCI, said that as a disruption of the pan-European chemicals supply chain would have serious repercussions reaching far beyond the industry itself, preliminary measures would be needed to avoid a worst-case scenario. This goes in particular for phamaceuticals supply in the UK, he said.