Assurances have been sought by Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, on the future of the UK chemical industry after the Brexit transition period which ends on 31st December.
What happens to the chemicals made in the UK, especially in relation to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) which govern chemical manufacturing in the EU, remain half answered by the Government – a point raised by Alex at a recent Westminster Hall debate.
Alex – who has been working closely with the Chemical Industries Association and Teesside based companies – has been calling for a clear policy on the import and manufacture of chemicals after Brexit. Despite not having the answers at the debate, the Minister has produced information on the proposed replacement, UK REACH, which will act as a standalone system to the current regulations.
While welcoming the progress, Alex has questioned whether UK REACH will run parallel to REACH, allowing UK made chemicals to access the EU market without further checks.
The chemical industry is right concerned about that the end of the Brexit transition period will means for their business, and this concern has been made worse by the fact the Government has provided little reassurance about REACH.
I’m pleased that the Government has heard theirs and my plea to produce guidelines on the future of chemical production and export after 31 December, but UK REACH creates more questions than answers. Does it work in parallel to the existing regulations? Does it mean frictionless trade for the chemical industry? These are questions that the industry need answering – and I’ll keep pressing the Government until we get them.