LONDON — A new survey by the British Coatings Federation (BCF) reports that the coatings industry has expressed significant concerns about border delays and separating from European chemical regulations ahead of a no-deal Brexit. The responses to the survey were gathered between September 4 and September 10, at a critical point during Parliament’s debate on blocking a no-deal Brexit.
BCF members have huge concerns over delays at the border, with 80% saying this was what worried them most. Moreover, 82% have expressed concerns over new UK chemical regulations, which will be needed in the event the UK does not have access to the European Chemicals Agency.
Other major concerns included the cost and availability of raw materials, and tariff and non-tariff costs relating to additional bureaucracy, and administrative costs related to a no deal Brexit. When asked about longer-term impacts, the number one issue was being treated as a third country by ECHA, therefore requiring the UK to have its own duplicate system to register chemicals. Other additional impacts listed were the possibility of reduction of trade with the EU, the UK being a less attractive manufacturing base, and additional costs of doing business.
Over 90% of respondents want to see tariff-free access to the EU market and free movement of goods. 88% of respondents want the UK to stay within EU REACH and the EU regulatory framework, and 83% want to see regulatory equivalence between the UK and the EU for chemicals.
Tom Bowtell, Chief Executive of the BCF, said, “The UK coatings industry has made significant preparations ahead of a no-deal Brexit, with 88% of members stating that they have already done some planning in the event of a no-deal Brexit. These preparations have taken various forms, with 79% building inventory of raw materials and 60% of respondents discussing contingency plans with logistics suppliers. As the industry body, we have been providing members with updated information regarding UK versions of regulations and plans for procedures at the border. “
Ellen Daniels, Head of Public Affairs and Policy at the BCF, said, “Members are overwhelmingly worried about a no-deal Brexit, with 95% expressing varying levels of concern. However, we are pleased that the industry has been proactively preparing as much as possible for every eventuality, as 61% say they are somewhat confident that their supply chains can adapt to a no-deal Brexit, and 15% are very confident. We will continue to work with members, government and the wider chemicals industry to ensure our members will be as prepared as possible in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”