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CIA publishes Brexit guide for chemicals industry

The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and its legal partner, Square Patton Boggs, has published a report on ‘Brexit and the future’, which aims to guide the chemicals industry as the UK prepares to leave the EU. 

The report details a number of key priorities for the industry, including frictionless trade with the EU, undisrupted UK/EU supply chains, development of new free-trade agreements, regulatory consistency, access to secure and cost-effective energy and access to highly skilled individuals.

Upon the launch of the guide, CIA chief executive Steve Elliott said: “With £50 billion of exports, the chemicals sector is the UK’s largest manufacturing exporter. With 60% of these exports going to the EU and 75% of the UK’s chemical imports coming from the EU, the terms of the UK’s exit are critical for the future success of the sector.”

The UK government must deliver a Brexit that minimises disruption and ensures the best possible solutions for the sector

Darren Warburton, lead partner of the Chemicals Industry Group at Squire Patton Boggs, commented: “The importance of the chemicals industry to the UK economy and the extent to which it is integrated into European markets, whether through trade, supply chains, regulation or R&D, means that the UK government must deliver a Brexit that minimises disruption and ensures the best possible solutions for the sector. There has to be clarity as early as possible over what the trading relationship with the EU27 will be, with the emphasis on tariff-free access to the single market and no customs barriers. In regulatory terms, we need continuity and consistency, and REACH in particular has to be a priority. And to continue to grow and compete globally, the sector must have access to skilled labour.”

Key trade messages

According to the report, key trade messages from industry include:

  • the European chemical industry is united in wishing to see zero tariffs on chemical trade between the UK and EU27 following Brexit;
  • chemical businesses need clarity on the trading platform that will exist during any transition or implementation phase. The industry’s ask of Government remains that companies face only one change in how business is conducted between the UK and the EU and that should happen when the final bespoke deal has been agreed;
  • with 60% of UK chemical exports going to the EU and 75% of raw materials travelling in the other direction, it is critical that Government delivers on promises to secure near frictionless trade between markets. Companies need time to adjust to new trade requirements; and
  • the UK chemical industry commits to working with Government to develop an independent trade policy framework that supports producers, enhances jobs, protects the UK competitive advantage and secures industry competitiveness.

The full 18-page report is available here.

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