Brexit state of play: implications for chemical policy
On 30 March 2019, the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU). The UK decision to leave the EU may have a profound impact on the future of the chemical industry, a sector that provides the vital building blocks of other sectors. Implications for the regulatory framework in which the chemical sector operates should not be underestimated. This contribution provides an outline of the state of play of the Brexit process and what it may mean for compliance with chemicals regulations both in the EU and in the UK.
At the time of writing, it was far from clear whether a deal could be ultimately agreed between the EU and the UK. Last November, after nearly eighteen months of intense negotiations, EU and UK officials reached an agreement on the UK exit terms from the EU (1). Endorsed by EU27 leaders, the EU Withdrawal agreement was rejected by the UK Parliament by a significant margin in an historic defeat for the Government. Following the result of the vote, three scenarios are still debated in the UK: leave the EU with a deal, leave with no deal and the unlikely prospect of no Brexit. Despite the great level of uncertainty dominating the UK political landscape and the increased likelihood of a disorderly Brexit, the UK Government is still determined in securing an EU Exit negotiated outcome. On the EU side, the Withdrawal agreement would then require approval from the European Parliament and the Council. Going forward, the UK’s intention to leave the single market will not only have implications for issues such as movement of people or customs systems, but will also impact trade in chemicals and the regulations that govern the industry.
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