UK Chemical Industry Lobs Ball to new PM

Association urges Boris Johnson to “get Brexit right”

17.12.2019 -

Grabbing hold of a well-worn campaign slogan used by the country’s newly elected prime minister and lobbing the ball back in his court, the UK’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has called on Boris Johnson “to get Brexit right.”

With the clarity (over Brexit) the business sector has been seeking now achieved, the association’s CEO, Steve Elliott, said the government must secure an exit and future trading relationship “that enables broader manufacturing and the chemical industry to maintain and grow its contribution to the whole of the UK economy and to people's everyday lives.”

The Brexit vote was taken in 2016, but the government has not been able to approve a final exit deal, Elliott noted. Going forward, he said chemical producers look forward to working with the “get Brexit done” prime minister, his government, Parliament and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure a strong UK manufacturing presence.

“After three and half years of political stalemate, I hope we can now make rapid progress on our EU exit and future relationship and start to tackle some of the great challenges that are before us,” the CIA chief said.

At the same time, Elliott stressed that “it is in our environmental and commercial best interests to secure close regulatory alignment with the European Union and to ensure that we can continue to attract and retain the very best skilled, specialist people from anywhere around the world.“

In a statement of its own, the UK chemical distributors’ group Chemical Business Association (CBA) warned that the government has only 12 months to negotiate a trading relationship with the EU hat would offer the chemicals sector a “frictionless access” to European markets.

Some 60% of the UK’s chemical exports go to the EU and some 70% of the industry’s needs are supplied by the single European market, as the CBA’s chief executive Peter Newport pointed out.  “The importance of this task to many thousands of UK manufacturing and service businesses cannot be underestimated.”