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Cefic statement on impact of Brexit on the chemical industry


24 Jun 2016


UK in Europe
Trade & Society

Brussels, 24 June 2016 - Concluding a historic referendum that marks a first for any EU member state, the people of the United Kingdom voted to withdraw their membership of the European Union. The member companies of Cefic – in agreement with our British counterparts, member companies of the UK Chemical Industries Association (CIA) - had jointly supported the UK remaining part of the Union, since it opens markets and reduces trade barriers for UK industry, benefitting society. Despite this, we fully respect today’s outcome.

The UK is an important trading partner for EU chemical companies, contributing on average 9% (€46.3 billion) of total EU28 chemicals sales of €531 billion. EU chemicals trade surplus with the UK registered €2 billion (average 2007-2014). Petrochemicals and other chemicals represent together 41% of total UK chemicals sales. EU chemicals exports to the UK reach €22.3 billion, and with 28%, petrochemicals are the largest EU exporting sector to UK. EU chemicals imports on the other hand from the United Kingdom reach €20.3 billion (figures 2007 - 2014).

Given this importance for Europe we need to work closely to ensure that existing trade and investment is not weakened and future opportunities are seized. As the implications of today’s referendum unfold more concretely, we look to the respective governments, Parliaments of the UK and European Union Member States to work hard with the European Commission on securing the right framework for establishing new arrangements so our economies can continue to grow. We look forward to playing our part towards carving out a strong and reformed Europe.

For further enquiries contact Dervla Gleeson, Cefic Media Relations Manager (


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