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EU Blacklisted 31 Dangerous Chemicals Since Brexit; UK Banned Zero

Interesting Politico article on the challenges of Brexit for the UK's chemical industry.

Tamara Ciochina

Campaigners are concerned U.K. chemical regulation has been left to “wither on the vine,” Politico reports. The article discusses the challenges of Brexit for the UK’s chemical industry.

The aftermath of Brexit has defied earlier predictions of a sharp economic downturn in the UK, with GDP growth rising by 0.5% in the third quarter, surpassing initial forecasts by the Bank of England. The chemicals industry, the fifth largest in the EU, has outperformed other sectors, experiencing positive trends in production and exports due to the devaluation of the pound. Major investment projects, such as those by Ineos and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, remain unaffected.

Despite short-term optimism, uncertainties loom as the UK negotiates its withdrawal from the EU. The fall in the pound's value has boosted exports, but challenges lie ahead as the government navigates complex trade agreements. Although cautiously optimistic, the UK’s chemicals industry recognises the difficult road ahead, with the potential for a 'hard' Brexit involving trade barriers and tariffs. The sector favours a 'soft' Brexit with tariff-free access to the single market. The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has outlined priorities in a Brexit manifesto, emphasising tariff-free access, energy security, skilled labour availability, and a science-based regulatory approach.

The UK government's negotiation strategy remains unclear, leaving industries, including automotive and manufacturing, seeking assurances for their respective sectors. The recent deal with Nissan has led to calls for similar commitments across the automotive industry. The intricacies of Brexit negotiations may necessitate a transition period of five or more years beyond the initial two-year negotiation period. Overall, while the immediate economic fallout has been less severe than anticipated, challenges persist as the UK charts its course post-EU.