Brexit uncertainty may deter chemical investment in Europe - Huntsman CEO

Source: ICIS News

2017/11/16

UK, EU flags

LONDON (ICIS)--Brexit uncertainties could force companies to look outside Europe for future investments, the CEO of US chemical major Huntsman said on Thursday.

Peter Huntsman said that the impact of the UK's departure from the 28-country EU might not be felt for five years.

The CEO added that Huntsman has options to invest at its sites in Geismar, in the US state of Louisiana, and Caojing, China, rather than in the UK or in the EU.

Sanctioning investment in European facilities becomes more difficult as uncertainties about the future UK-EU trade relationship and the regulatory environment persist, he suggested.

Speaking at a Brexit conference organised by the UK chemical trade group Chemical Industries Association (CIA), Huntsman said that Brexit opportunities would take time to surface.

Huntsman added that there are more opportunities for the chemical industry today than at any time in the past, driven by innovation and trade.

“Let’s not get too lost in the weeds,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the CIA president, INEOS' executive Tom Crotty, said that more certainty on the Brexit negotiations and a fixed transition period were key requirements for the chemical industry as the UK exits the EU.

“Regulatory consistency is absolutely crucial [post-Brexit and] we must have access to the best people,” said Crotty, referring to the UK’s current membership of the EU-wide chemical regulation Reach and the ability for the industry to employ any resident across the bloc.

Clarification: Re-casts third paragraph

Picture source: Peter MacDiarmid/REX/Shutterstock