The European chemical industry is reportedly worried about forthcoming talks between the U.K. and the remaining members of the European Union as discussions regarding “Brexit” prepare to get underway next month.
European Chemical Industry Council director general Marco Mensink told Bloomberg this week that he sees “a disconnect in communication between both sides” and that talks risk “veering off course.”
The chemical trade between the U.K. and the rest of the EU is reportedly worth $42 billion annually, and the economic consequences could be significant if the U.K. departs in 2019 without an agreement in place to temporarily address regulatory complications.
Brexit could impose new taxes, tariffs and other costs on companies, as well as disrupt shipping patterns and employee movement. Chemicals could be particularly susceptible since their supply chains often cross the English Channel multiple times.
In addition, a report in February indicated that U.K. government negotiators viewed banking as the top issue in Brexit talks — and considered chemicals a “medium” priority.
“Settling the Brexit questions affecting chemicals will be like unscrambling an omelet back into eggs,” Mensink told Bloomberg during the interview in Brussels. “We urge policy makers to find solutions.”
He also said that the industry group is warning members to prepare for difficulties as talks ramp up. British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday called for elections in June in an attempt to solidify her political support — and bolster the U.K.’s Brexit bargaining position.
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