Few people realise that chemicals & pharmaceuticals are the UK’s biggest export earner, bigger even than vehicles or aerospace. This is a massive success story for our country and of course Cheshire plays a big part in this by hosting major chemical sites like Essar, Ineos and Tata and dozens of smaller companies besides.
Nishma Patel, director at the UK’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA) gave evidence to the Commons Exiting the European Union committee, back in June this year. She told them that the sector was “doing all it can to plan for no deal but the reality is that, in all that preparedness and readiness in their planning, I don’t think it is possible for them to compute how no deal will pan out,”
Ms Patel said companies were “very anxious” about a no-deal exit and, as the uncertainty increased, some were beginning to consider ‘non-reversible’ actions, such as opening new plants in other parts of the EU to facilitate trade.
Ms Patel later said although information on future UK legislation – “REACH” – in the event of a no-deal Brexit had improved “significantly”, some companies still “have no idea that they are going to be stung by it. She explained that companies using mixtures or putting together formulations for downstream sectors were a good example of an industry sector which will be affected. They will need to put in a new UK registration that “not only takes time but has a big cost implication”.
To do this, she said, UK registrants will need to re-negotiate their access to data or, in the case of downstream users, start those negotiations from scratch with data owners which will likely add higher fees and costs.
As we get even closer to the 31st October, Industry insiders are now saying that a no-deal exit from the EU would seriously threaten their business because profit margins are often small and the tariffs that would have to be applied to their products could wipe these profits out. This would be made worse if transport delays increase costs further. Employees across the industry are naturally concerned for their jobs