Press Release

The UK’s biggest manufacturing exporter, the chemical industry, has reported a fall in exports.

In the latest survey of chemical businesses conducted by the UK Chemical Industries Association, 38% of companies reported a decrease in sales over the last three months, with 62% showing a continuation of current sales levels or an increase. Over 40% of companies also reported a fall in exports.

Looking to investment and the year ahead, nearly 9 out of 10 companies felt Research and Development spend would remain at current levels, with 8 out of 10 expecting capital expenditure to hold steady or increase.  On jobs, nearly 8 out of 10 believed employee numbers were likely to remain at current levels or be increased. 

Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association said “Despite the fact that over 60% of companies showed sales holding firm or growing, the increased number of companies reporting a fall in sales is worrying. I am encouraged by the predictions for the year ahead, but it is far too early to be confident that those expectations can be met.  What’s really needed is a clear general election result and speedy progress on securing a new trading relationship with the European Union – our most important market”.   





For further information, please contact CIA's Simon Marsh on 07951 389197 or [email protected] 

About the survey

Our latest business survey looked back at the months of July, August and September
We ask a consistent range of questions covering performance

About the UK chemical industry

• The chemical and pharmaceutical industry adds £18 billion of value to the UK economy every year from total annual turnover of £50 billion.

• In addition to gross value added, the sector also contributes to the UK economy in its position at the head of many supply chains within manufacturing and its employment of a well remunerated, high-skilled workforce. We support 500,000 jobs both directly and indirectly Chemical manufacturing adds £9 billion in gross value added annually and pharmaceutical manufacturing £9 billion.

• The wider chemical and pharmaceutical sector (manufacturing plus distribution) is the largest exporter of manufactured goods with annual exports of over £50 billion. The export of motor vehicle, trailers and semi-trailers is the sector with next highest exports of £35 billion. Aerospace is £32 billion.

• 63% of companies in the sector export what they make to the world, the highest proportion of any goods manufacturing sector in the UK economy. 60% of our exports go to the European Union and 75% of our imports and raw materials come from the European Union.

• The sector’s level of business investment is £4.3 billion, compared to automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion, while the expenditure on research & development is £5.0 billion (automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion).

• The products and technologies of the Chemical industry are essential parts of medicines, food & drink, telecommunications, energy-saving, I.T, clothing and much more.

• For every tonne of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitted, our products and technologies enable over 2 tonnes of GHG emissions savings.

Media & PR enquiries

For Media enquiries, please contact:

Simon Marsh

07951 389197

[email protected]


Giuliana Loccisano 

 07947 603663

 [email protected]