Brexit Issues Discussed

Speaking at the Confederation of Paper Industries Biennial Health and Safety Conference late in June, Andrew Large, Director General of the CPI discussed the challenge for the new UK government as regards the domestic paper industry. “We are willing and able to contribute to economic and employment growth across all of the UK, but, we need to work with the Government to secure the right support to be able to play that role to our fullest extent.”

For CPI’s members, Mr Large outlined the three issues that stand out above all others in the current Brexit negotiations. The number one priority for the Government must be to ensure that the UK avoids a chaotic exit from the European Union, leading to a situation in which the rules which govern UK trade are unclear, and trade is significantly impeded while negotiations conclude. Such a situation might arise if:

  • Non-tariff barriers emerge in respect of UK-EU trade;
  • Customs procedures with the EU for UK goods are unclear;
  • The UK has not formalised its independent membership of the WTO. 

“The UK paper industry is strongly in favour of the phased implementation of any eventual Brexit agreement to prevent trade from falling off a cliff edge and enable business and governments to adjust to the new trade relationships,” says Mr Large. 

“Secondly, the UK paper industry depends greatly on its EU supply chains of pulp and paper, capital, machinery and people. The final Brexit agreement must ensure that these supply chains remain linked and that they are not disrupted by new tariffs, non-tariff barriers related to standards or regulations or restrictions on skilled workers and those with manufacturing skills, especially those coming to the UK for short term intra-company roles. 

“Thirdly, both the Brexit agreement and future UK regulations must deliver the most competitive UK business environment possible, within the context of continued frictionless trade with the EU. This applies especially to environmental, natural resources, business rates, employment and health and safety legislation. 

“The UK paper-based industries welcome the commitment to transpose EU law into UK law from day one of Brexit, as a provider of legal certainty. However, we urge the Government to move quickly to reduce regulatory burdens on business, consistent with continued access to EU markets.”

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