London - UK prime minister Theresa May's 17 Jan announcement that the country will exit the EU single market and not pursue full membership of its 'customs union' has received a guarded welcome from the Chemical Industries Association (CIA).
The trade body for UK-based chemicals and pharmaceuticals makers has been in the vanguard of industry associations warning about the impact of a split from the EU on jobs and investment in the UK.
However, CIA chief executive Steve Elliott welcomed the government's provision of details on its Brexit strategy and urged members to continue to make the case for the industry ahead of and during negotiations with the EU.
While leaving the single market and not pursuing full membership of the Customs Union will "concern many", Elliot said he was encouraged that the PM had identified chemicals and pharmaceuticals as "key sectors of the economy where it would be in the UK and EU’s interests to minimise disruption to trade and investment..."
The CIA boss concluded: “With that in mind let’s unite and make sure we play our part in delivering an outcome which gives businesses the confidence to invest and grow in our country.
"In a couple of months the real negotiations get underway and our sector – with our 500,000 quality jobs across the UK, including in the north of England and Scotland, our export surplus and our commitment to science and innovation - is ready to play its part in delivering a new future for the UK.”