Brexit's trigger will see enhanced scrutiny from chemical industry body

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 25 Apr 2017

A LEADER from the process industry has urged the Prime Minister to secure a wide-ranging agreement as she begins the negotiations leading to the UK's exit from the European Union.

Chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association, Steve Elliott, spoke after the letter confirming the UK's intention to leave the UK was handed over in Brussels this past month.

He said: "Whilst we, and others, will scrutinise and seek to influence each and every step until and beyond Brexit, we do want to make sure the Government is in the best informed and advised position it possibly can be to conduct a successful exit from the EU.

"It is now more important than ever that the Government fully engages with the European Union, seeks input from all stakeholders and does not allow any short term political interests to harm future UK trade and investment prospects."

The Humber holds the second largest process industry cluster in the UK, and chemicals account for £3.2 billion, or 23 per cent of the total exports from the region.

The CIA has proactively worked on the Brexit strategy preparing a dedicated manifesto and has pulled together a special ten-strong Brexit team, with strong interests in this area.

Calum Maclean, chief executive of Synthomer, and Richard Carter, managing director of BASF UK, head up neighbouring plants on the South Bank, while Stuart Arnott, president of global operations at Hull-headquartered Croda International, is also on board.

Worth £6 billion to the regional economy alone, the process industry supports thousands of jobs and provides a basis for a major contracting community too.

The cluster is a prime example of a united nations, with global flags hoisted, and several head offices in Europe.

It is also another crucial element of the ports sector.

In the run-up to the trigger, Mr Elliott addressed the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on the issue and the manifesto calls for action in four key areas:

  • Tariff-free access to the single market
  • The availability of skilled people
  • The supply of competitive and secure energy
  • A policy framework that encourages scientific progress, leading to sustainable growth

Now, with Britain's Ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow having hand delivered Theresa May's letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk, Mr Elliott said: "The chemical and pharmaceutical industry will continue to work with Government and our partners across the continent to get the best deal for the chemical industry – a deal that will also support many of our customer industries who are dependent on our products and services.

"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.

"I hope negotiations proceed smoothly and, whilst 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."

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