The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has called for any future agreement between the UK and the EU to support the existing trade flow of paper for recycling.
The pan-European association representing the forest fibre and paper industry says post-Brexit the EU and the UK will become each other’s biggest trading partners in terms of pulp, paper and paper for recycling.
In a paper stating its position CEPI said: “Today, around 1.2 million tonnes of paper for recycling are traded each year between the United Kingdom and the EU27.
“This circular and sustainable trade flow is a critical part of consumer confidence in recycling infrastructure and must be supported post-Brexit.
“The EU and the UK have impressive recycling rates, respectively 71.3% and 87.2% The EU, as part of its Green Deal and its Circular Economy Strategy, and the UK, as part of its Waste and Resources Strategy, have ambitious recycling targets.
“It is essential to maintain a vibrant paper recycling infrastructure and avoid unnecessary friction on paper for recycling with existing clear specifications and existing arrangements for paper recycling movements.”
“It is essential to maintain a vibrant paper recycling infrastructure”
CEPI says around 8.1 million tonnes of pulp, paper for recycling, paper and converted paper products with a value of €7.3 billion are currently traded each year between the EU and the United Kingdom.
The UK paper sector is represented by CEPI through the membership of the Swindon-based Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).
In February CPI challenged the government to ensure Britain remained an attractive location for the manufacturing of paper and its products after Brexit (see letsrecycle.com story).
In its position paper CEPI set out several objectives towards which it believes a future trade relationship between the UK and the EU should work.
The pulp and paper industry’s competitiveness should be maintained and a pro-investment environment in the UK and the EU secured, CEPI says.
It suggests existing supply chains must not be disrupted by new tariffs or non-tariff barriers and that costs and delays relating to customs procedures and rules governing the transport of goods must be minimised.
And, CEPI says standards and compliance methods for products, machinery and equipment should be mutually recognised by the EU and the UK while regulatory systems should remain equivalent post-Brexit.
CEPI says paper for recycling is traded between the EU and the UK using agreed standards, with EN 643 quality specifications as the cornerstone.
The mutual recognition of these standards should prevail in any future trade agreement, the trade association says.
And, CEPI says provided paper for recycling is in line with the specifications of EN 643, there is no need for additional formalities.