LONDON—Chemicals manufacturers have warned of the need to protect trading-links after the Westminster parliament, on March 30, triggered the process of negotiating an exit from the European Union.
The United Kingdom has been an integral part of the European chemicals industry for decades and manufacturers on both sides of the Channel have benefitted from the single market and open borders.
Prime Minister Theresa May must now secure a "wide-ranging agreement" and avoid allowing short-term political interests to damage U.K. trade and investment, urged a statement from the London-based Chemical Industries Association.
"In these negotiations, there is much more to unite the European chemical industry than divide us, with minimal disruption to our current trading relationships being our collective goal," said Steve Elliott chief executive of the CIA.
Elliot went on to say that while "business needs certainty and, to some extent speedy resolution, we also urge patience in order to make sure we avoid a bad deal or no deal"
For its part, European chemicals industry body Cefic called for clarity that would help chemical companies adapt and continue to do business in a "rational and predictable manner."
"Politicians on both sides must provide the earliest possible signal concerning how the EU and U.K. will trade in future so companies on both sides can continue their mutually beneficial trading relationship," Marco Mensink, Cefic director general of the Brussels-based group said. "Certainty will help chemical companies adapt and continue doing business in a rational and predictable manner. Decisions about continued investment can only be made based on long-term predictability."
Cefic figures show that in 2014, the U.K. chemical industry represented about 9 percent of total EU-28 sales while EU-27 exports to the U.K. were $23.8 billion and imports were around $21.6 billion.