As the coating industry’s exports decline, it is “critical” that the government agrees a good Brexit deal.

That’s according to the British Coatings Federation, which has warned that exports in coatings have already decreased due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and says that the UK must have a Brexit deal that benefits the industry.

The BCF welcomes the government’s ambition to raise exports as a proportion of Britain’s GDP from 30% to 35%, as the coatings industry is traditionally strong in exporting, but exports have already dropped by 6% this year.

However, it has warned that these plans should be approached with caution as there is still so much uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations and nothing has been agreed yet.

CEO Tim Bowtell said it is paramount that the UK remains a member of the European Chemicals Agency, which advocates for the safe use of chemicals, so that BCF members can continue to trade freely with the rest of the EU.

He said: “Exporting is important to our members, with three out of five BCF members exporting successfully today, and the UK being a net exporter of coatings and printing inks.

“However, amidst the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the exporting performance of the coatings industry has deteriorated, with year to date export volumes down by 6%.

“It is critical for the coatings and wider chemicals industry that we see a positive Brexit outcome and continued membership of the ECHA.”