Sector News

UK chemicals urges calm, supports Brexit deal as vote in Parliament delayed

December 12, 2018
Chemical Value Chain

Following a day of chaos in the UK Parliament on Monday, in which a key vote on the Brexit deal was postponed, the country’s trade group the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has urged calm and reiterated its support for the government’s deal.

The CIA added however that the delay may introduce more uncertainty for UK and EU chemicals companies and the wider economy.

The UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday delayed a vote on the deal negotiated with the EU over uncertainties expressed by her colleagues surrounding the Northern Irish backstop.

The government had been facing down an overwhelming defeat in the vote, with many members of Parliament on both sides of the political spectrum opposed to a number of aspects of the withdrawal agreement.

CIA, however, said it was disappointed with the further delay and the uncertainty it could generate.

It added that it continues to support the government’s deal, calling for collective leadership to help deliver an orderly Brexit.

“This deal is not perfect but, in the absence of any other thing, it represents a good opportunity for the sector we represent,” said the CIA’s CEO Steve Elliott.

“If any changes keep alive the three points we have called for since the day after the referendum – frictionless free trade, regulatory consistency and access to skilled people – then it will receive our support.”

Elliott said that he sympathises with those people who are pressing for clarity, but added that if extra time is needed to secure a pragmatic outcome, then it would be time well spent.

He urged the Government not to panic and to focus on delivering the best outcome for the UK.

“We have said from day one [that] the best negotiations often go down to the wire. If that happens here, then we can move on from what feels like political gridlock.”

A new date for the vote on the withdrawal agreement has not yet been set as Theresa May is now looking to talk to as many EU leaders as she can in order to gain some further clarifications that she hopes will appease her colleagues in Westminster.

However, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday insisted “there is no room for renegotiation” of the deal on the table, a message which reiterated by the Irish Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar on Monday.

European financial markets were having a calm day on Tuesday, with gains up to 1% compared to the previous close.

The UK’s FTSE 100 was trading up 0.38% by 10:00 London time.

The European chemical index was up 0.95%.

Source: ICIS News

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