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CIA calls on UK government to “get Brexit right”

Following the re-election on 12 December of the Conservative Party government that is committed to taking the UK out of the EU, the country’s chemicals industry has called on it to ensure that this is done in a way that addresses the industry’s concerns about trade and policy, by adapting the government’s own slogan about “getting Brexit done”.

“We must get Brexit right and secure an exit and future trading relationship between the UK and the EU that enables broader manufacturing and the chemical industry to maintain and grow its contribution to the whole of the UK economy and to people’s everyday lives” said Steve Elliott, chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA).

The CIA, which groups most of the companies in the chemicals industry, the UK’s biggest manufacturing and exporting industry, was in favour of a Remain vote in the 2016 referendum. Since then, it has consistently argued for a ‘soft’ Brexit that will keep the UK aligned as closely as possible to the EU-27 and now hopes to have a ‘frictionless’ free trade agreement swiftly in place.

“We also believe that it is in our environmental and commercial best interests to secure close regulatory alignment with the EU and to ensure that we can continue to attract and retain the very best skilled, specialist people from anywhere around the world,” Elliott said.

Meanwhile, the Chemical Business Association (CBA), which represents UK chemical distributors, warned that there are only about 12 months to secure such a frictionless agreement and ensure continued access to the market that accounts for 60% of UK chemical exports and 70% of its imports. “The importance of this task to many thousands of UK manufacturing and service businesses cannot be underestimated,” said CBA chief executive Peter Newport.  

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