Industry Appeals again to Avoid Brexit Plunge

Signatories from Chemicals-related Organizations Included CEFIC and the UK Chemical Industry Association CIA

15.03.2019 -

As the UK Parliament on Thursday grasped one of its last chances to make sense of Brexit amid what appeared to be gathering darkness, European and UK business and industry leaders appealed to MPs to “immediately avert” a no-deal exit from the EU, to avoid major disruption of supply chains across all industries and to protect jobs.

While affected companies will have breathed a sigh of relief late in the day that a leap from the cliff has been prevented for now, Parliament’s decision to delay Brexit for an undefined period with no clear course is unlikely to have been satisfying.

The calls of desperation issued earlier in the week followed numerous other appeals to lawmakers and negotiators over the past two years  to think about the security of supply chains now rather than focus on possible trade deals far in the future.

In their open letter to the MPs gathered in London, trade organizations from several sectors stressed that companies on both sides of the Channel have benefited from over 40 years of economic integration and 25 years of the single market and that value chains have become so closely intertwined that a no-deal Brexit would lead to chaos.

Industry bodies signing the paper – signatories from chemicals-related organizations included the European Chemical Industry Council CEFIC and the UK Chemical Industries Association CIA – reiterated earlier warnings that a no-deal Brexit would have “disastrous consequences for businesses and citizens on both sides.”

Delays at customs and disrupted supply of all goods, including foods and medicines, would affect communities and incur significant costs for businesses and governments alike would be the order of the day, they said.

“In many areas,” the text continues, “businesses do not yet know the trading conditions they will be operating in, and smaller companies are already experiencing cash flow problems in the face of this uncertainty.  Jobs are at risk as businesses might have to close down or downsize, unable to deal with disruptions.”

Next week’s decisions are generally regarded as the last chance to develop a near-term blueprint for a UK future outside the EU – and the last hope for remainers to convince Eurosceptics that they have been traveling down the wrong path.

The week’s first step, on Mar. 19, will be a third parliamentary vote on UK prime minister Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal, potentially followed by indicative votes by MPs on what form an alternative deal could take. Finally, a EU summit scheduled for Mar. 21-22 will decide what kind of Article 50 extension Britain should get, if any.