As set out in the White Paper, the UK seeks participation in the European Chemicals Agency, which will ensure that products go through only one approval mechanism to access both UK and EU markets. Given the sector’s complex multinational supply chains and the well-developed regulatory framework, there is a strong incentive for the UK and the EU to continue co-operation in this area.
I thank the Minister for that answer. Much of Britain’s manufacturing and engineering sector relies heavily on an uninterrupted supply of industrial chemicals, which are used on the production line to carry out processes such as non-destructive testing. Will my hon. Friend update the House on what progress has been made in negotiations with the EU on the REACH regulations? Will he reassure businesses in Erewash that they will continue to have ready access to industrial chemicals after we leave the EU?
As the hon. Lady says—I recognise this from my constituency, too—chemicals are an important part of production input, and the proposed free trade area for goods, underpinned by a common rulebook, will protect existing supply chains. Our proposals will ensure that products meet the necessary regulatory requirements for both the UK and EU markets, removing the need for regulatory checks at the border, and will mean that existing chemicals regulations and authorisations will remain valid in both markets.