The assessment is based on figures released as part of a wider document, Understanding Plastics Trade, which analyses the trade flow between the UK, the EU and the rest of the world.
The figures show that the cost of exports could increase by £340 million and the cost of imports by a £540 million, said the BPF, which represents polymer producers, suppliers, end users, processors and machinery makers.
Each year, the UK imports £13 billion worth of plastic products, material and machinery and exports £8.4bn. This shows plastics to be one of the UK’s top ten imports and exports, with the EU accounting for 69% of all plastics-related trade, followed by Asia (16%) and North America (8%).
However, the UK remains heavily reliant on imports, with an overall polymer trade deficit of £4.6 billion, according to the industry’s London-based federation. Out of the top 15 countries with which it trades polymer materials, products and plastics & rubber equipment, the UK has a trade deficit with 13 of them, it noted.
The EU is clearly a vital market for the UK polymer industry, which is in turn absolutely crucial to the success of the UK economy, Mike Boswell, chairman of the BPF’s Brexit committee, commented in a 17 Oct press release
According to Boswell, it “absolutely essential that a favourable trade deal is struck with the EU. If no deal is reached, a significant increase in the cost of both exports and imports will undermine the competitiveness of the UK’s polymer sector at a crucial time for cementing existing trade links and exploring new opportunities.”
The chairman further warned that “the impact of non-tariff barriers could be just as severe and there is an absolute need for streamlined customs clearance procedures to be put in place.”