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Brexit ‘breakthrough’ paves way for trade talks

may european council

8 Dec 2017

Negotiations between the UK and European Union (EU) have reached the next phase, after Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to no hard border in Northern Ireland, rights to EU citizens living in the UK, and a divorce bill which is ‘fair to the British taxpayer’.

Image: Theresa May at a European Council meeting in March; Credit: Number 10@Flickr

‘Today’s result is of course a compromise,’ said Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, who has previously spoke of his frustration of the growing length and slow pace of his talks with the UK government.

This ‘breakthrough’ in discussions gives way for May to start negotiating a new free trade deal with the EU once the UK ceases to be a member in March 2019. To get here ‘required give and take from both sides,’ she said.

As an indispensable underpinning sector to the UK manufacturing base and a key contributor to the UK economy, the chemical industry will play an important role in the negotiation of a trade deal. As quoted by the Chemical Industries Association, the EU accounts for 60% of UK chemical exports and 75% of chemical imports.

In the next round of talks, the chemical industry asks for three key priorities to be met:

  • Tariff free-trade between the UK and EU-27
  • Regulatory consistency, maintaining REACH registration
  • Access to skilled workers

At SCI, we believe these priorities are essential for future economic growth and success of the UK chemicals sector. They will become particularly important during the transition period as businesses prepare for an as-yet uncharted trade environment.

By Georgina Hines

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