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CBA News


29 April 2020

In a message to members of the Chemical Business Association, its Chairman, Darren Budd, Commercial Director, BTC-Europe, has said that the challenges faced by the industry – Covid-19 and Brexit – amounted to a ‘perfect storm’ for many companies.

He said, “We have the immediate reality of the Covid-19 pandemic and waiting in the wings we have the prospect of further Brexit uncertainties.”

The CBA Chairman’s message replaces his speech to the Association’s Annual Lunch, which attracts some 1,300 members and their guests, and was scheduled to take place on 29 April but has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 lock-down.

Brexit uncertainties

“CBA has continued to call for an end to uncertainty and, like most of UK business, close regulatory alignment and continuing frictionless trade with the European Union. Our advocacy campaign will continue to secure market access and frictionless trade with the EU – the destination for 60% of the UK’s chemical exports and the source of 70% of the UK’s chemical imports.”

“But the UK Government has made it clear that it has no intention of even attempting to achieve regulatory alignment with the European Union as far as chemicals are concerned.

“CBA is therefore now advising member companies trading with the EU to pursue the following options – before the end of the transition period – in order to secure EU market access.”

(1) Either use an existing subsidiary or create a new one in the EU and transfer any EU REACH registrations to that subsidiary.

(2) Establish a partnership with a company in the EU and transfer any EU REACH registrations to that company.

(3) Support CBA’s plan to create or contract with a collective Only Representative entity in the EU for member companies – the CBA office can provide further details of this option.

“CBA remains absolutely committed to providing you with practical information, support, and solutions to help your business navigate the post-Brexit regulatory and trading environment.”


“This brings me to the second major issue currently facing the industry – the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all become familiar with the lock-down and working from home though it is impossible to imagine the lonely and isolated deaths its growing number of victims’ experience.”

“And there is no immediate end in sight. Science Is guiding us through the pandemic but has yet to create an effective vaccine. No doubt one will come – but time is not on our side.”

“I’m proud to say that member companies have put their shoulders to the wheel to help in the crisis. Member companies have maintained critical supplies to the NHS as well as the main utilities, such as water and energy. They have also responded to the shortage of hand sanitisers by producing industrial alcohol and other companies have supplied glycerine.”

“In terms of supporting its member companies, CBA has provided the latest information as the pandemic develops and UK regulations change to increase supplies of key chemicals to strategic downstream users. CBA has also been in continuous dialogue with the Government

and industry regulators to maintain a proportionate balance between regulatory controls, protection of stakeholders, and to support measures to counter the pandemic.”

“Meanwhile the Government has launched a massive programme of support for companies, employees, and the self-employed. Tax and VAT are deferred. Grants and business rate relief have been introduced. Business loans are guaranteed by the Government – though for the lender not the borrower. Many firms may baulk at taking on additional debt – but, I realise, some may not have a choice.”

“I said at the outset that we live in unprecedent times – and times full of commercial, financial, and health dangers. Yet here we are. Each one of us confident that our companies will survive these testing times and return to growth. As a business sector the chemical supply chain is massively resilient. We will endure the current hardships. We will find a way to survive and prosper.”


(1) CBA represents the independent chemical supply chain. Its membership includes distributors, traders, warehouse operators, along with logistics and transport companies. CBA’s members, the majority of which are SMEs, are the main industry interface with thousands of UK downstream chemical users.

(2) CBA member companies have a total annual tunrover of £2.75 billion and employ more than 8,700 people distributing, packing, and blending key chemical components and services to virtually every sector of the UK economy. CBA’s logistics member companies handle more than four million tonnes of chemicals annually.

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