The UK’s intended departure from the EU has created uncertainty on both sides of the Channel. Europe is a key market for the UK paints, coatings and printing inks industry, which comprises over 60% of UK exports, whilst 80% of paint and ink imports to the UK are from the EU. Fifty percent of BCF members are British, with the rest predominantly owned by European, American and Japanese parent companies, the vast majority having UK manufacturing facilities.
Both the BCF and CEPE welcomed the UK Prime Minister’s announcement that the UK has the ambition to stay within the European Chemicals Agency. If the UK chemical regulations were to deviate from those on the continent, this would result in severe disruption for the industry. Our associations are keen to see the following come from the negotiations:
- A customs union or agreement between the UK and the EU to ensure frictionless trade, avoiding potential delays and disruption to the industry;
- A harmonised chemical regulatory framework between the UK and the EU, including REACH, BPR and CLP;
- No deviation from the high level of environmental and safety standards of products in the UK, which currently exist in the EU;
- 0% tariffs on finished goods (paints, coatings and inks) and raw materials for our industries which are traded between the UK and the EU;
- The free movement of skilled workers between the EU 27 and the UK
The BCF and CEPE will continue to work together on critical issues for the industry amidst this time of great change. Given the interconnectivity of supply chains in the UK and the EU, both the BCF and CEPE will be working together to influence governments and political bodies to ensure the best outcome across Europe.
Whilst UK has a trade surplus with many countries in the EU, overall imports and exports for paints, coatings and printing inks are at a similar level- so both sides will lose if there are barriers to trade.
This statement was agreed by the board of directors at the BCF board meeting on May 2, 2018 and the CEPE board meeting on June, 19 2018.