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Here’s what you need to know before Brexit
The United Kingdom is withdrawing from the European Union at the end of March 2019. This decision has consequences not only for everyone in the UK, including those working in the chemical industry, but also for companies in the remaining EU Member States and EEA countries doing business with the UK. We walk you through the most important issues so you can be prepared.
The EU and the UK have announced a draft Withdrawal Agreement.
If the agreement is ratified, it may contain a transition arrangement, which would give companies a longer period to adapt to the consequences of Brexit.
However, based on the information currently available, we are providing advice to help companies prepare for the UK’s withdrawal taking full effect on 30 March 2019. How the withdrawal affects you depends on the role your business plays in the supply chain. If your UK-based business is connected to one of the remaining 27 EU Member States (the EU-27) or one of the three EEA countries, you will face some changes.
But it’s not only UK companies that need to pay attention – companies in the EU-27 and EEA doing business with UK companies will also see things change.
The following examples highlight some of the changes, and you can find more explanations and support from our updated web section on the UK’s withdrawal.
Registrations will cease to exist
If your company is based in the UK and you have registered a substance under REACH, your registration with ECHA will no longer exist after the withdrawal.
If you are a manufacturer, and you plan to continue doing business in the EU, you can appoint an only representative to manage your registrations. You should make sure that the only representative is knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the information related to your substances, and that they are located within the EU-27.
If you are a UK-based importer, the non-EU manufacturer or formulator can appoint an only representative, located in the EU-27. Another option is to move the part of your business related to the registered substance to a legal entity within the EU-27. Remember though, that responsible staff will need to be physically present at the EU-based address – setting up a company in the EU-27 on paper only will not do.
What about REACH authorisations?
REACH authorisations granted to UK-based companies will also no longer exist after the withdrawal. This means that if you are an EU-based company relying on such authorisations, you will have to find a new supplier that has a valid authorisation in the EU-27 or EEA. Alternatively, you can apply for an authorisation yourself, but remember to reserve enough time to do so.
If you are a UK-based holder of an authorisation, you can transfer the authorisation to an only representative in the EU-27. The transfer can be made after the withdrawal but you can already now prepare and make a formal agreement with your intended only representative.
Based in the EU-27 or EEA?
Companies based in the EU-27 or EEA that do business with UK-based companies will also face changes. For example, if your company is a member of a joint submission that has a UK-based company as the lead registrant, the lead registrant will need to transfer the lead role to an EU-based company.
Classifying and labelling your products
If you are a UK-based company, you will no longer have to comply with the CLP Regulation after the withdrawal unless you export to the EU-27. In this case, you will still need to classify and label your product in accordance with CLP.
When placing a substance, that has not been registered, on the EU market, it needs to be notified to the Classification and Labelling (C&L) Inventory. This needs to be done within one month. Notifying to the C&L Inventory will no longer be your task, but needs to be done by your EU-based importer.
Manufacturing or supplying biocides
To be included in the Article 95 list of substances and suppliers, suppliers of biocidal substances or products need to either be based in the EU-27 or have an appointed representative there. If you are a UK-based supplier, you therefore have to appoint an EU-27 based representative before the UK’s withdrawal to avoid being removed from the Article 95 list.
If you want to apply for an active substance approval or product authorisation, the application needs to be submitted in R4BP 3 to an EU-27 Member State or an EEA country.
Remember also that UK-based companies can continue to request active substance approvals and renewals, but after the UK withdrawal, biocidal product authorisations can only be granted to EU-based companies.
Follow the developments
The status of the UK’s future chemicals legislation is uncertain. At the outset, the UK intends to transpose the EU legislation into domestic legislation. If there is a transition period, UK-based companies will still have obligations under EU legislation for an additional time. To stay up-to-date, follow the publications issued by ECHA, the European Commission and the UK authorities as well as the further developments of the withdrawal negotiations in the coming weeks and months.
Only representatives after withdrawal
Text by Jakob Aahauge
Published on: 20 November 2018
Top video: © ECHA
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Biocidal Products Committee:
26 February-1 March
Committee for Risk Assessment:
6-8 March and
Committee for Socio-Economic
Management Board meeting:
23-27 March (tentative)
Member State Committee:
20-24 April (tentative)