Industry urgently needs clarity on Brexit - VCI

16 July 2018 11:03 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Industry urgently needs clarity on Brexit and currently a fast return to the negotiating table is the highest priority, VCI Director General Utz Tillmann said in a statement released on Monday.

Ministers resigned from the UK cabinet last week following Prime Minister Theresa May’s forcing through of a controversial Brexit negotiating proposal.

It set out the framework for the establishment of a new free trade area between the UK and the EU on goods and a common regulatory rule book in key markets including chemicals.

It drew the ire of hard line Brexiteers and May’s approach to leaving the EU was criticised by US President Donald Trump while on a visit to the UK.

“After the cabinet resignations, it now seems that the way is free for a solution oriented approach of Great Britain in the negotiations, Tillmann said. “Prime Minister May should not feel pressured by the remarks from the US President,” he added.

“Everything possible must be done to reach a negotiation result by October. Industry urgently needs clarity about the future and the certainty that there will be a transitional phase.”

Chemicals value chains would be severely hit if the UK was to crash out of the EU chemicals regulatory environment and if chemicals trade was subject to new customs requirements and tariffs, Tillmann added. “That would massively impact our customer industries too,” he said.

In a speech in New York on 10 July, the EU 27s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier said that businesses on both side of the Channel, including subsidiaries of US firms, should prepare for the worst case scenario of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and the return of tariffs under WTO rules.

“The ‘no deal’ is not our objective,” he said. “We are negotiating to avoid the ‘no deal’, but it still cannot be excluded.

Our objective is to reach an agreement by October on the UK's orderly withdrawal from the EU. This would allow proper time for the British and European Parliaments to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement before the UK actually leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.”

By Nigel Davis