The Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid made the news recently with comments he made during an interview with the Financial Times, in which he addressed the issue of future trading agreements with the EU.
“There will not be alignment, we will not be a rule-taker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union – and we will do this by the end of the year," he told the outlet.
“We were disappointed that the current government’s version of the Withdrawal Agreement removed some of the commitments to regulatory alignment for chemicals that were in the previous Theresa May deal," British Coatings Federation CEO Tom Bowtell said in response. "The Chancellor’s comments raise even more concerns for the coatings industry about the possibility of substantial regulatory divergence in the future. A recent BCF member survey saw 90% of coatings manufacturers express their fear of having a duplicate set of chemical regulations through a UK REACH, and all the extra bureaucracy and cost this would bring.”
These comments came as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill was finally approved by the UK Parliament, with the European Parliament also expected to vote to approve the agreement during the week of Jan. 27.
The UK will therefore formally leave the EU on Jan. 31 and enter into a period of new, and separate, negotiations about a future free trade agreement between the UK and EU, with a transition period on current terms running until Dec. 31, 2020.
“We need the government to understand the complexity of the integrated chemicals supply chain and come up with an appropriate free trade deal to prevent – or at least minimize – substantially added costs or disruption to our members," Bowtell said. "The BCF will continue to engage in forthright yet constructive dialogue with civil servants and politicians to ensure a workable solution is found for our sector.”