LONDON - The British Coatings Federation (BCF) held its 2017 Annual Conference in Manchester in May, and the program included a lively Brexit panel chaired by the BCF’s CEO Tom Bowtell. The panel included Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of Chemical Industries Association (CIA), Terry Scuoler of EEF, journalist and broadcaster Isabel Oakeshott, and Jan Van der Meulen, Managing Director of the European Council of the Paint, Printing Ink and Artists' Colours Industry (CEPE).

The panel tackled various issues, including access to skilled chemists post-Brexit, the future of trade with the EU and what it means for the REACH regulations, as well as discussing the importance of trade associations and collaboration throughout the supply chain to explore what opportunities there could be for the sector once the UK has left the EU.

The BCF belongs to both EEF and CEPE, having recently joined the EEF as an Affiliate Partner. It has also been working closely with the CIA as part of the Alliance of Chemical Associations (ACA), which earlier this year surveyed the chemicals supply chain for their thoughts on Brexit and the future of manufacturing in the UK.

Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, said, “I’m delighted to have taken part in the BCF’s Annual Conference as a speaker and as part of the Brexit panel. It’s clear from speaking to BCF members that losing access to the single market and the customs union would pose a difficult challenge to the coatings and wider manufacturing sector.”

Tom Bowtell, Chief Executive of the BCF, said, “It’s great we had senior voices from across the supply chain speak on the panel, including the chemicals, manufacturing and EU coatings sectors being represented. Brexit will bring challenges for the industry but we all share a common view and will continue to collaborate to get the message to government that we need to get Brexit right to keep trading with the EU and beyond.”