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Impact of Brexit on the European Chemical Industry

corresponding

René van Sloten
European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), Belgium

Abstract

From the onset of the Brexit negotiations, the chemical industry on both sides of the Channel has stood united and has been calling for an agreement that would ensure frictionless tariff-free trade in chemicals, as well as regulatory consistency between the UK and EU-27. However, a no deal Brexit scenario has now become a real possibility, given the continued uncertainties about the outcome of the talks.
While hoping that the scenario of a no deal Brexit can be averted, throughout the Brexit negotiations Cefic has advised its members to prepare for a no deal Brexit. This article outlines what the consequences of such a scenario would be for our industry as well as the downstream industry that depends of the products of the chemical industry.


INTRODUCTION

At the time of writing of this article, the British Parliament has just rejected the Withdrawal Agreement by an overwhelming majority. Over the next few weeks it will hopefully become clearer what direction the debate between the EU-27 and the UK will take to provide certainty to companies. The following outcomes are currently most likely:

a request for an extension of the Article 50 deadline,

ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement with some minor adaptations and leaving the EU in an orderly manner following a transition period,

exit the EU without a deal.

However, one of the red lines of the EU-27 remains that negotiations on the terms of the future relationship can only start after the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. This future relationship can take various forms, e.g. ranging from a simple Free Trade Agreement, a CETA type of Agreement, a Customs Union, or a Norway type of trade agreement.

From the onset of the Brexit negotiations, the chemical industry on both sides of the Channel has stood united and has been calling for an agreement that would ensure frictionless tariff-free trade in ...



 

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