BCF welcomes FTA but calls for more significant changes to UK REACH
As the BCF tells, an FTA will mean, among other things, that BCF members will be able to benefit from tariff-free trade with the EU in future. This at least will ensure the coatings and printing inks sectors across Europe will not now be hit by new tariff costs of an estimated GBP 100 million (EUR 111 million).
Commenting on the deal, Tow Bowtell, CEO of the BCF, said:
“We welcome the fact a Free Trade Agreement has been concluded. Businesses are going to be hit significantly by Brexit and at least this FTA means some additional costs, such as tariffs, are now going to be avoided. However, the FTA agreed appears extremely ‘thin’ and basic. The reality is this is a ‘hard’ Brexit, with significant extra costs and burdens placed on UK industry as a result. BCF members and businesses across the country will still have to deal with new customs and borders controls, as well as delays to goods and raw materials caused by those additional procedures. This will make UK companies less competitive, having to spend more time and money dealing with bureaucracy that has not been there for decades.”
“FTA negotiations failed to secure a data-sharing agreement on chemicals”
He continued: “In particular, we have serious concerns about the way UK REACH will duplicate the onerous EU REACH, despite the UK chemicals market being only 1/10th the size of the EU. It seems as though the FTA negotiations failed to secure a data-sharing agreement on chemicals. If that is indeed the case we either need to see further negotiations in 2021 to try and reach that agreement as an ‘add-on’ or Defra will need to urgently review how UK REACH is going to work. Proceeding as currently planned will cost businesses – including downstream users like those in the coatings, printing inks and wallcoverings sectors – over a billion pounds with absolutely zero added benefits. We will continue, as a matter of priority, to make this case for change into 2021.”