The United Kingdom's breakaway from European Union regulations opens the door for the mass relocation of chemical and pharmaceutical companies away from continental Europe and towards the UK. Coupled with the UK's intent to sign multiple new free trade deals, the country is ideally placed to receive an economic boom in the Chemicals industry, argues Konrad Whitehouse of Get Britain Out

The United Kingdom is setting itself up to poach a considerable size of a key European Union industry. The EU acclaims the chemical industry as one of their 'cornerstone' markets. This is a total market value worth over ?565 billion with over 1.1 million employees continent-wide and growing exponentially with its ties to low-carbon technology.

The European chemical industry is regulated by yet another one of those common alignment programmes the EU enforces. This one, The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), ropes the industry into reels of red tape and testing measures which constrict the entire industry.

Michael Gove, when appearing in front of the Brexit Select Committee last week, let slip that the UK may not be separating from other EU policies immediately – such as the European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) – but the UK will have cut its ties to the common chemical programme by this time next year.

This means the UK can self-govern its chemical industry and with the Prime Minister being adamant about slashing red tape, the industry can thrive. This will make the UK much a much more competitive market for European chemical companies to relocate.

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The EU programme currently restricts chemicals-in-food contact materials. This is something which is a major setback for the EU's efforts for a US Trade Deal. The UK can hopefully soon add a US-UK trade deal to the arsenal of its chemical industry, making the UK even more attractive for EU-based chemical companies.

Inevitably, foreign-based companies will want to move to a more versatile and prosperous market and should the UK stick to its deadline of the transition period and officially cut EU ties; the grass will be immensely greener this side of the Channel. We can fully expect commercial movement to subside in the EU and relocate to the UK.

There is already an example of this scenario taking place. Switzerland – although party to most EU common policies – is not subject to the EU's chemical policy. In Switzerland the chemical industry thrives. Their pharmaceutical and chemical sector is worth 5% of their Gross Domestic Product and exports from their industry are worth over ?80 billion. This is roughly equal to the UK's current chemical and pharmaceutical industry, but with a population an 8th the size of our own, Switzerland are world leaders, taking full advantage of being independent from the EU's common policy.

Given the UK is a far more extensive domestic market, in addition to the incoming array of new international trade deals, this should give the UK high hopes of syphoning off a huge chunk of the EU's chemical industry. This could effectively boost UK industry by at least 5%.

In January it was reported over 1,400 financial firms intend to relocate to London as a direct result of the UK leaving the EU under the promise of cutting EU red tape. This influx of financial firms will increase the total number of financial firms in Britain by at least 3.5%. Should the same repeat itself for the chemical industry, we can expect to add 40,000 jobs and a £200 million injection through a 3.5% syphon of EU chemical companies into the industry – with immediate effect. We could witness swathes of French and German companies making the move across the Channel.

This could be a huge welcome boost to the economy under the current economic circumstances. The chemical industry is also rife with research and development, creating new talent and developing markets. This will lead to the UK becoming a world leader with its chemical industry, which will go from strength to strength. This is why it is vitally important we must wholly Get Britain Out of the European Union to enable our chemical sector to thrive.

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