No EU-UK deal on Brexit ‘worst possible’ scenario – chem trade groups

14 November 2017 10:21 Source:ICIS News

UK, EU flags

LONDON (ICIS)--The UK leaving the EU in March 2019 without a deal would be the “worst possible outcome” for the chemical industries of both areas, the trade groups representing them said on Tuesday.

As Brexit negotiations have made little progress so far, businesses are growing concerned that a UK exit from the EU without a deal on future trade arrangements will harm performance.

“Cefic and CIA spell out that for the continuation of a healthy and viable chemical industry… [We] Consider that the UK’s exit from the EU without a new trade agreement in place is the worst possible outcome for companies and their employees in both the UK and EU-27,” said the two trade groups.

Moreover, Cefic and CIA said that, was a deal to be agreed on the terms of the UK departure from the 28-country bloc, am “appropriate” transition period would be needed, although they did not specify how long it should be.

While the end of free movement of people between the EU and the UK has come to be a red line for the UK government, CIA and Cefic considered it “essential” to be able to have access to skilled workers post Brexit, a plea which UK chemicals companies have been repeating since the referendum result in June 2016 was known.

“[We also] Call for the least disruptive agreement in terms of customs procedures. It should maintain the easy flow of goods, minimise delays and additional costs for companies related to new and different customs procedures and requirements,” said the trade groups.

“Call for regulatory consistency upholding the level playing field between the EU-27 and the UK. Social, safety, health, environment standards should remain at equally high levels. Provisions should be foreseen in the future trade agreement to ensure health, safety, environmental and social standards remain at a high level.”

The director general at Cefic, Marco Mensink, said that chemical trade between the EU and the UK accounts for more than €40bn. He expressed concern about the supply chain which intertwines chemicals on both sides after more than four decades of a tariff-free single market.

“Business needs to get clarity on the nature of the future relationship and the provisions that will apply in a transitional period as early as possible so it can timely prepare,” said Mensink.

The CIA is hosting an all-day conference on Brexit in London on Thursday 16 November. Click here for more information

Picture source: Peter MacDiarmid/REX/Shutterstock

By Jonathan Lopez