News • No deal?

Brexit: uncertainty for chemical-pharmaceutical industry

Utz Tillmann, director-general of the German chemical industry association VCI, deplores the rejection of the Brexit agreement by the British Parliament:

“This vote brings us close to a no-deal Brexit. I very much hope that even in the current heated atmosphere the British politicians will still find a way to prevent a worst case scenario. London and Brussels should remain in dialogue now.” However, Tillmann also sees the need for both sides to make final preparations for the serious possibility of a no-deal Brexit: “The chemical-pharmaceutical industry and its customers would be most strongly affected by a disorderly Brexit. A collapse of supply chains would cause damage far beyond our industry. Therefore, specific transitional solutions are essential to at least somewhat ease the most detrimental impacts. In particular, this is about supplies of medicines in the UK.”

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Need for specific transitional solutions

portrait of utz tillmann
Utz Tillmann
Source: © VCI / René Spalek

As the legislation on chemical substances and products is largely harmonised at European level, a no-deal Brexit would have major disadvantages for the industry. Tillmann gives the example of the EU chemicals regulation REACH: “In the event of a disorderly Brexit, chemical substances that were registered in the UK for distribution in the EU could be no longer simply sold in the European Union – with significant consequences for the supply chains.” Tillmann urges the European Commission: “In order to prevent this, registrations by companies headquartered in the United Kingdom should be unilaterally recognized by the EU on a temporary basis.” 

Even though Tillmann points out that the companies of the chemical-pharma-ceutical industry have been preparing intensively for Brexit for several months, he qualifies his statement: “A no-deal Brexit would result in such a complex situation that it is impossible for businesses to get ready for all eventualities.”

Great Britain is the 8th largest trading partner of the German chemical-pharma-ceutical industry. According to VCI estimates for the year 2018, German companies exported goods worth 10.2 billion euros to the United Kingdom and imported chemical products to the value of 5.8 billion euros from the UK.

Source: Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V. (VCI)


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