Chemical and pharmaceutical sector speaks out about Brexit

Amid fears that Brexit could force some chemical manufactures to move overseas, the Chemical Industry Association (CIA) has reiterated what it wants to see from the final deal with the EU. Among its priorities are tariff free access to the single market, ‘access to appropriately skilled people’ as well as ‘regulatory continuation and consistency’.  

Post-Brexit concerns for the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry is also facing considerable uncertainty regarding the potential effects of Brexit.

In June, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry urged the sector to ‘prepare for a crisis’ should a deal not be made early, according to The Telegraph.

In the worst-case scenario, the pharmaceutical sector could be left with restricted access when it comes to selling in Europe and be faced with substantial restructuring costs. In addition, there have been fears regarding access to medicines post-Brexit, although ministers have acted to quell these worries.

‘Hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit?

Pressure has been put on the Prime Minister to opt for a hard Brexit, which would mean exiting the single market.

However, Theresa’s May’s failure to secure a majority in the recent general election means she doesn’t have the firm negotiating hand that she has hoped for; this might force the UK to take a different approach.

And now there is talk that the EU might be prepared to allow the UK to stay in the single market, in what would be considered by some as a ‘soft Brexit’.

Calls for a transitional deal

Many in the business community and some ministers are keen to pursue a transitional deal to soften the impact of leaving the EU; this is a sentiment that is echoed by the CBI, and there has been pressure on the Brexit secretary David Davis to achieve this.

Further the EEF, which represents manufacturers, has stated that businesses need to be informed about the nature of any transitional deal, including how long it will last for.

At a recent conference, Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, stated:

“UK businesses need to know soon what arrangements will be in place after March 2019, to be able to plan, make investment decisions and have confidence that an orderly and carefully managed approach to Brexit is underway.

“If they don’t have that assurance there will come a tipping point, sometime in 2018, when boards in the UK and elsewhere will need to make decisions based on the state of the negotiations at that point. They cannot wait until the end of the process for confirmation of a deal on our departure or future trading relationship.

The CIA is also in favour of a transitional deal, stating:

“We believe that staying in the single market for that appropriate transition period would help support trade, investment, jobs and overall economic growth in the critical time taking us to exit from the EU and our future new trading relationship.”

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