London – UK chemicals manufacturers still face major costs related to Brexit despite the zero-tariff terms in the trade deal between the UK and the EU, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has warned.
The imposition of tariffs could have resulted in annual costs of at least £1 billion (€1.1 billion), according to said Steve Elliott, chief executive of the CIA chemicals & pharmaceuticals industry trade body
“We have consistently called for the threat of tariffs to be avoided, so we very much welcome the commitment and hard work from both parties in securing that outcome.” the London-based CIA leader commented.
However, the industry has yet to see the full detail of the agreement signed on 24 Dec, Elliot pointing in particular to the extent of regulatory cooperation agreed with regard to the industry’s REACH responsibilities.
Failure to secure access to a decade’s worth of investment by UK chemical firms in data for EU REACH will mean a bill of over £1 billion in unnecessarily duplicating that work for a new UK regime, he said.
“All our efforts now must be focused on working with the authorities to deliver a chemicals regulatory regime that is efficient, innovation-friendly and sensitive to international competitiveness,” insisted Elliot. Such an approach will also enable us to provide reassurance over any health and environmental concerns.”
“Although this Free Trade Agreement represents a mixed bag for our industry, we shouldn’t underestimate the huge value that a deal brings in terms of certainty,” said Elliot.
“A predictable trading environment with our most important market-place, coupled with emergence from COVID-19, should make 2021 a year to look forward to,” he concluded.