Press Release
One of the UK’s top manufacturing exporters has criticised the Government for making the full transition to Brexit unnecessarily complex. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry, whose wider activities (manufacturing plus distribution) is the largest exporter of manufactured goods with annual exports of close to £50 billion, has questioned the value of an interim customs union. 

Speaking on publication of the Government’s plans for a customs union, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), whose members include some of the nation’s biggest chemical and pharmaceutical companies, said: “cross-Government acceptance of the need for a transition period is very much welcomed by our sector and many others – it’s a priority that CIA has been highlighting for some time now.  Surely, however, the best way to guarantee no adverse disruption to business and trade during a transition period, and to guarantee only one adjustment before reaching a final agreement with the EU, is to seek to retain our existing membership of the single market and customs union, rather than pursue a “close association” with the customs union that still leaves key questions around regulatory continuity, tariff and non-tariff barrier impacts”.  Steve Elliott, the Association’s Chief Executive also said “Whilst we can see the argument about the Government’s latest position potentially giving us the flexibility to start negotiating other Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s), the European Union market remains by far the most critical for chemical imports and exports; simultaneous negotiations on new FTAs and our future EU relationship will be inter-related and therefore incredibly complicated and it’s also very possible that countries outside of Europe, with whom we seek a new trading relationship, will want to know the final new deal we secure with Europe before they agree anything with the UK”.



For an interview with/further comment from Steve Elliott please call Luke Symns on 020 7963 6791 or Simon Marsh on 07951 389197

The Association has member companies located across the UK. Our members are chemical and pharmaceutical businesses. 

Our industry is one of the UK’s top manufacturing exporters.

The chemical and pharmaceutical industry adds £14.4 billion of value to the UK economy every year from total annual turnover of over £40 billion. This represents around 10% of the value added by the whole of UK manufacturing.

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. Chemical manufacturing adds £9 billion in gross value added annually and pharmaceutical manufacturing £5 billion.

UK chemical and pharmaceutical companies invest around £4 billion in capital and R&D.

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

Media & PR enquiries

For Media enquiries, please contact:

Simon Marsh

07951 389197

[email protected]

Laura Bamford

020 7963 6791

[email protected]