Brexit: VCI Urges Preparations for Failed Negotiations

Utz Tillmann, the chief executive of the German Chemical Industry Association (Verband der Chemischen Industrie: VCI), has urged solution-oriented negotiations between the EU and Great Britain and emphasized the importance of linking the country to the EU’s chemicals agency ECHA. Otherwise, he stated, chaos threatens to reign over the exchange of goods between the EU and Great Britain, or, in the worst case, come to a complete stop. “The payment of duties and time-consuming customs procedures at the border could bring numerous supply chains to a standstill, as could suddenly missing registrations and approvals for chemical products from Great Britain. Our customers would be seriously affected,” said Tillman in a press release issued in August. For safety’s sake, he added, companies should prepare for a Brexit without an agreement on the post-Brexit situation.

But how can preparations be made when the context is not even remotely clear? Great Britain has published a white paper that describes what the solution could look like. The European Council will issue a statement on the status of the negotiations in mid-October, regardless of the situation at that time. Both the EU and the British government have prepared for a failure of negotiations. An important factor here is the British Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It has stated that it could take over most of the tasks now performed by the ECHA. Such elements include part of the Plant Protection Products Regulation, REACH, and the IT infrastructure required for the registration and regulation of chemical substances.

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