EU RoHS & REACH Compliance for Non-EU Companies

Question: Is compliance with the European Union (EU) Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation mandatory for companies located in the United States, or other countries located outside the EU?

Answer: No, but there may be business repercussions associated with non-compliance or failure to provide compliance information to customers upon request.

The RoHS Directive applies to electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed on the market in the EU, while REACH applies to products and chemicals manufactured in, sold in, or imported into the EU. A company outside the EU may freely sell products to customers outside of the EU without having to comply with these regulations.

However, if a downstream user plans to place these products on the EU market or import them into the EU, they may need to comply with REACH and/or RoHS. For instance, consider a metal spring manufactured and sold in the U.S. The spring itself is not in scope of EU RoHS. If, however, the purchasing company uses that spring in an electric fan, which is imported to the EU, then the fan — including the spring — must now comply with EU RoHS.

If a company's customers plan to import and/or sell products in the EU, they will likely have to demonstrate compliance with REACH and/or RoHS. To do so, they are likely to request compliance information from the supplier company. If the information is not provided, the customer may choose to take their business elsewhere.

Article is current as of April 2019.

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