UK chemicals sector: We won't be bogged down by Brexit uncertainty

Courtney Goldsmith
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The sector adds £14.4bn of value to the UK economy every year (Source: Getty)

The UK's chemical and pharmaceutical industry will today say it will be resilient in the face of Brexit uncertainty.

The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) will lay out plans for continued growth after Brexit at its annual dinner today.

“We have our challenges with Brexit and the rest but we won’t sit around waiting for things to happen to us. This is an industry that has always made its own future and will continue to do so," CIA president Tom Crotty will say.

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The event will feature an address by business secretary Greg Clark as well as Brexit minister Steve Baker and representatives from firms including Dow Chemical, Huntsman Corporation and Thomas Swan & Company.

The industry, which adds around £14.4bn in value to the UK economy every year, will call for a transition period to secure the best Brexit deal while addressing key priorities of tariffs, non-tariff barriers, regulatory consistency and continued access to skills.

“In this past year we have seen significant growth in chemical production by businesses right across the UK. Now we must make sure we get Brexit right and build on that growth, with investment in our country becoming a regular and on-going occurrence," Steve Elliott, the CIA's chief executive, will say.

The wider chemical and pharmaceutical sector, which includes manufacturing and distribution, is the UK's largest exporter of manufactured goods with annual exports of close to £50bn.

Earlier this month, the CIA found capital investment, research and development spending and jobs were set to grow over the next year, despite Brexit uncertainty.

Beyond Brexit, the industry will also address the role it can play in the UK's industrial strategy through innovation and decarbonisation as well as creating new jobs.

Read more: Chemicals industry growth continues despite despite investment uncertainty

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