REACH Compliance Post-Brexit: Potential Effects and Outcomes

Question: 

How will Brexit impact a medical company that imports small volumes of chemicals (less than one metric ton) from the UK into the European Union (EU)? Will products need to be registered under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation?

Answer:

There is still a great deal of ambiguity surrounding companies’ post-Brexit regulatory obligations. Several possibilities exist. If a “No Deal” agreement takes place, the UK will drop out of all EU bodies and current EU REACH Regulation registrations will lapse, requiring an EU-27 based office, importers or an Only Representative to perform new registrations.

There is a possibility that the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which is currently paused pending a general election, will eventually pass. This will allow for free trade between Europe and the UK until a formal agreement is prepared to replace it.

The UK may also agree to leave without legislation in place to deal with the REACH Regulation. In this case, the UK will not recognize EU registrations, and the EU will not recognize UK registrations for an unknown period.

If a UK company imports close to one metric ton of chemicals, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs suggests registering to be safe. However, the threshold for registration in the EU will remain one metric ton, so companies in the EU will not have to alter their practices.

Article is current as of 2019-11-08.

See also: Supply Chain Changes Following Brexit

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