UK chemicals urges leaders to sign a post-Brexit trade deal

Author: Nigel Davis

2020/12/09

LONDON (ICIS)--The UK chemicals industry on Wednesday warned again that a no-deal end to Brexit would damage chemicals trade and investment.

Ahead of what is widely seen as the critical meeting in post-Brexit trade talks between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday evening, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) urged the two leaders to finalise and sign a free trade agreement (FTA).

“Chemical businesses in the UK alongside those in EU member states, have consistently set out the case for free trade and regulatory consistency,” said Steve Elliott, CIA's CEO.

“We do not seek such an outcome for the sake of it – UK firms need it to ensure that they can continue to export on a competitive basis to our biggest market, without the huge disruption and cost that tariffs, border delays and duplicate regulatory requirements would all bring through a failure to agree a deal.

“A ‘no deal’ outcome for a trade intensive industry that sends over 60% of its total exports to the EU 27 would clearly damage the prospects for that trade, and for investment and jobs across the country”.

A no-deal end to UK-EU post-Brexit trade talks would mean that tariffs are applied to exports and imports from and to the UK.

The costs and logistical burden would put chemicals producers and consumers that trade intermediates and finished goods with the 27-country bloc under intense short- and long-term operational and cost pressure.

Regulatory alignment is seen as a complex challenge for chemicals producers and consumers in both the UK and the EU from 1 January 2021.

Trade talks between London and Brussels have reached a critical point with time almost exhausted for the inking of a deal.

With negotiations pushed to the wire, Johnson and von der Leyen will meet in Brussels to attempt to overcome the final hurdles to an agreement which is reportedly being held up on critical issues of sovereignty and competition.

The UK's public broadcaster BBC reported on Wednesday that there remain major disagreements on ”fishing rights, business competition rules and how a deal would be policed”.