European associations set out priorities ahead of Brexit

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The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and the UK’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA) have signed a joint statement spelling out the importance of clarity about a future EU-UK trading relationship after Brexit, set for March 2019. 

The statement, published 14 Nov, said Brexit without a new trade agreement between the UK and the EU would be “the worst possible outcome” for the continuation of a healthy and viable chemical industry.

The associations stressed that a transition period was essential and that the “least disruptive agreement” should be reached in terms of customs procedures.

Additionally, the joint statement called for continued free movement of skilled labour between the EU-27 and the UK, describing it as “essential”.

The bodies also demanded “concrete measures” to be in place to facilitate investment and called for regulatory consistency to uphold the level playing field between the EU-27 and the UK.

“Considering that cross-channel chemical trade amounts to over €40bn and given the close interconnection of supply chains, we are very concerned about Brexit causing disruption of chemical markets,” said Marco Mensink, director general of Cefic.

Mensink stressed that the industry needed clarity on the nature of the future relationship as early as possible so it could prepare in a timely fashion.

Also commenting on the issue Steve Elliott, chief executive of CIA said Brexit was a huge challenge both for the EU and the UK.

“We call on negotiators on both sides to make rapid progress, so the discussions can move to a future relationship that delivers growth for all parts of our continent,” he added. 

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