London, UK – The EU has agreed to delay the UK's potential exit until the end of October, or sooner if parliamentary support is achieved. Although ‘no deal’ is most likely off the table, it is highly likely that the uncertainty will drag on, according to Steve Elliott, chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA).
‘[We have] a Conservative party that is extremely wary of a customs union as that goes against the grain of taking back control,’ he said. ‘But we also have a Labour leadership that doesn’t want to be dragged into committing to a second referendum.’
From the UK chemical industry’s point of view, Elliott said, regulatory certainty is essential. He cited murmurings among some member companies that the relative certainty around a ‘no deal’ exit might be better than drifting along for another six or nine months.
With no deal, he added, tariffs in the chemicals world would be 5.5 and 6.5%. ‘The vast majority of our sector could live with that,’ he said.