The UK plastics industry views tariff-free trade as a top priority for any deal with the EU, according to the latest BPF Business Conditions Survey results, which indicate that 91% of BPF members view free trade as important.
Whilst a free trade agreement remained the most important issue for members, predictable transport arrangements (60%), and retaining regulatory cooperation on REACH (47%) are also high up on the industry agenda.
The results of the survey, carried out in January and February 2020, also found that the majority of businesses believe sales turnover would either stay the same or increase over the next 12 months.
Another issue, highlighted by the survey results, revealed around half of all plastics companies are currently finding it hard to recruit staff (53%), with particular difficulty found recruiting engineers and shop floor staff.
Following the survey’s findings, the Director-General of the BPF, Philip Law, states:
“The UK trades more with EU member states than any other single country around the world, with nearly £15 billion worth of plastic and plastic products traded between the UK and EU each year. As the third-largest employer in the manufacturing sector, plastics are vital to the UK economy. BPF members have relayed to us that a strong and stable business relationship with the EU is critical for their businesses. The Government must keep this in mind as it moves into the next stages of negotiating a deal.”
In October last year, in response to the uncertainties faced by the industry, the BPF worked alongside the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and Squire Patton Boggs to provide Preparing for Brexit: Practical Guidance for the Plastics Industry, a 32-page guide containing advice to help plastics companies prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Amongst other topics, guide covers:
- The Effect on REACH and Other Regulations on Plastic Firms
- Rules of Origin
- CE Marking and UK Mark
- Plastic Recyclers and Brexit
- Essential Actions Businesses Should Take