Sector News

Hard Brexit ‘not yet averted’ – Germany’s VCI

November 21, 2018
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

The danger of Britain crashing out of the EU with no agreement has not been averted and there is still risk of a “serious impact” on chemical supply chains, the head of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) has said.

Utz Tillmann’s comments come after the UK and the EU agreed a draft Brexit withdrawal agreement last week. While he welcomed this, Mr Tillmann stressed that until the deal is ratified by both UK and EU parliaments “there is no all-clear”.

Without ratification, he said, there is no transitional phase, and it is in this period that negotiations that are important for the industry “only really start”.

The 585-page draft Brexit document sets out clauses of Britain’s exit but does not include finer detail around chemicals legislation.

Mr Tillmann called for a “concrete arrangement” for the future relationship and said industry will only see this as “a good agreement” if tariff barriers are avoided and the same standards for product and chemical safety are maintained.

These should be included in the guidelines for the future relationship that the European Commission expects to adopt next week, he added.

The warning on Brexit is VCI’s second in less than three months. At the end of August it urged companies to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit – a scenario it said would bring chemicals trading between the UK and EU to a “complete standstill”.

Germany and the UK are major trading partners. German chemical exports to the UK totalled €11.2bn in 2017, while imports from the UK were €6.5bn, the VCI said.

Last week, Cefic and UK Chemical Industries Association (CIA) welcomed the draft Brexit deal, but said the UK’s desired ‘associate membership’ of Echa, and what this entails in terms of access to data, still needs to be agreed.

Source: Chemical Watch

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