UK House of Commons votes down withdrawal agreement

The chemical-pharmaceutical industry urgently needs transitional solutions for a no-deal Brexit

VCI director-general Utz Tillmann urges: Still prevent a no-deal Brexit ++ Negotiate transitional solutions for the chemical-pharmaceutical industry for a disorderly Brexit.

After the UK vote, VCI emphasizes: In case of a no-deal Brexit, the chemical-pharmaceutical industry urgently needs specific transitional solutions. - Photo: © momius/stock.adobe.com
After the UK vote, VCI emphasizes: In case of a no-deal Brexit, the chemical-pharmaceutical industry urgently needs specific transitional solutions. - Photo: © momius/stock.adobe.com

Utz Tillmann, director-general of the German chemical industry association VCI, deplores the rejection of the Brexit agreement by the British Parliament: “This vote brings us close to a no-deal Brexit. I very much hope that even in the current heated atmosphere the British politicians will still find a way to prevent a worst case scenario. London and Brussels should remain in dialogue now.”

Utz Tillmann
Utz Tillmann © VCI / René Spalek
However, Tillmann also sees the need for both sides to make final preparations for the serious possibility of a no-deal Brexit: “The chemical-pharmaceutical industry and its customers would be most strongly affected by a disorderly Brexit. A collapse of supply chains would cause damage far beyond our industry. Therefore, specific transitional solutions are essential to at least somewhat ease the most detrimental impacts. In particular, this is about supplies of medicines in the UK.”


The chemical industry needs specific transitional solutions

As the legislation on chemical substances and products is largely harmonised at European level, a no-deal Brexit would have major disadvantages for the industry. Tillmann gives the example of the EU chemicals regulation REACH: “In the event of a disorderly Brexit, chemical substances that were registered in the UK for distribution in the EU could be no longer simply sold in the European Union – with significant consequences for the supply chains.” Tillmann urges the European Commission: “In order to prevent this, registrations by companies headquartered in the United Kingdom should be unilaterally recognized by the EU on a temporary basis.”

Even though Tillmann points out that the companies of the chemical-pharma-ceutical industry have been preparing intensively for Brexit for several months, he qualifies his statement: “A no-deal Brexit would result in such a complex situation that it is impossible for businesses to get ready for all eventualities.”

Great Britain is the 8th largest trading partner of the industry

Great Britain is the 8th largest trading partner of the German chemical-pharma-ceutical industry. According to VCI estimates for the year 2018, German companies exported goods worth 10.2 billion euros to the United Kingdom and imported chemical products to the value of 5.8 billion euros from the UK.


The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of around 1,700 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media.The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2018 the German chemical industry realised sales of over 204 billion euros and employed ca. 462,000 staff.

Contact: VCI Press Dept., Phone: +49 69 2556-1496, E-Mail: presse@vci.de
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Jürgen Udwari

E-Mail: udwari@vci.de