The EU and the UK have announced a draft Withdrawal Agreement. This agreement needs to be ratified by both sides to take effect, which can take until early 2019. Only thereafter, companies may benefit from a transition period, which would give them more time to prepare for the effects of the UK withdrawal from the EU. At that time, ECHA will also update these pages including the Q&As for companies.
The withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will take effect from 30 March 2019.
If your company is established in the EU-27/EEA, you will be affected whenever your supply chains as a customer or supplier extend to the UK.
If your company is established in the UK, the EU chemicals legislation, which includes REACH, CLP, BPR and PIC, will no longer apply to you if your chemical substances, mixtures or articles, biocidal products or active substances are placed on the market only in the UK. This is also the case if you export certain chemicals directly to non-EU/EEA countries from the UK.
However, you should follow the development of the UK legislation, as the UK intends to make the EU legislation valid within the UK (at least temporarily) after the withdrawal.
If your business is in any way connected to the remaining 27 EU Member States or the EEA countries, you will have to prepare for changes.
Start by identifying your role in the supply chain and your future connection to the EU-27 and EEA market. Where and with whom you do business will determine how the withdrawal will affect you.
From the options below, select the role that describes your business and see how you can start preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. If your situation does not fit any of these roles or you wish to know more, you can read all our Q&As under “Advice to companies / Q&As”.
UK-based REACH registrant
Only an EU/EEA-based company can register a substance under the REACH Regulation. If your company is based in the UK and has registered a substance under REACH, the registration will no longer exist after the UK withdraws from the EU. This also means that you will no longer have to update the REACH registration dossier after 30 March 2019.
If you want to continue doing business in the EU/EEA after the UK’s withdrawal, you have the option of appointing an only representative to manage your registrations. You also have the option of moving your operations related to the registered substance to a legal entity within the EU.
A registrant is responsible for the substances covered by their registrations. This means that the responsible staff and relevant documentation must be present at the address of the registrant – setting up a company on paper only in the EU-27 or EEA is not sufficient.
UK-based only representative
If you represent a non-EU company and you are based in the UK, you will no longer be able to act as an only representative after the withdrawal, unless you relocate to an EU-27 or EEA country. Otherwise, to remain legally on the EU market, the non-EU manufacturer that appointed you will need to find a new only representative, based in one of the EU-27 or EEA countries. The registrations will have to be transferred to that new only representative.
UK-based manufacturer or supplier under the BPR
If you want to apply for an active substance approval, you have to submit your application in an EU-27 or EEA country. You can submit the application even after the date of the UK’s withdrawal.
Supplier of biocidal substances or products
Under the BPR, substance or product suppliers of biocides have to either be located in the EU or have an appointed EU-based representative to be listed in the Article 95 list of substances and suppliers. Non-EU companies are included together with their appointed EU representatives.
As a UK-based supplier, you will need to appoint an EU-based representative ahead of the UK’s withdrawal to avoid being removed from the Article 95 list.
Non-EU companies listed under Article 95 of the BPR and with an EU representative located in the UK will also need to get a new representative within the EU.
If your company is based in one of the remaining EU-27 or EEA countries, EU legislation and obligations will continue to apply to you. However, your business partners in the UK will need to adjust their operations to follow the new UK chemicals legislation.
If you purchased a chemical substance from a UK-based company that registered a substance under REACH, you will no longer be able to rely on the substance being legally registered after the UK has left the EU.
For the substance to remain legally registered, the company from which you bought the chemical will need to appoint an only representative established in one of the EU-27 or EEA countries. Alternatively, you can choose to register the substance yourself as an importer.
UK-based authorisation holder under REACH
After the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, EU legislation will no longer apply to the UK. This means that, for example, if your UK-based company holds or is covered by a REACH authorisation for certain uses of an Annex XIV substance, the conditions of the authorisation no longer apply to you.
Authorisations granted to UK-based companies will no longer exist, so EU-based companies relying on such authorisations will need to find suppliers with valid authorisations in the EU-27/EEA, or apply for new authorisations themselves.
A UK-based company can transfer its authorisation to an only representative in the EU. You can make the transfer after the UK’s withdrawal, but to be prepared, you can already make a formal agreement with the only representative that would become effective from the date of the UK’s withdrawal.
EU-27 downstream user of an authorised substance
REACH authorisations granted to UK suppliers will no longer exist after the UK withdraws from the EU. If you rely on such an authorisation and want to continue using the substance, you can apply and become an authorisation holder of the substance yourself.
Remember that UK-based manufacturers and formulators can transfer their authorisation to an only representative based in one of the remaining 27 EU Member States or the EEA.
UK-based only representatives can transfer their authorisation or pending application for authorisation to a new only representative based in the EU-27/EEA, appointed by the non-EU manufacturer. Please note, however, that UK-based importers cannot transfer their authorisation to an only representative in the EU-27/EEA.
Manufacturer or formulator outside the EU/EEA
If you have appointed an only representative that is located in the UK, you can appoint a new only representative, located within the EU-27/EEA. The new appointment must take place ahead of the UK withdrawal and be notified to ECHA (through the ‘Legal entity change’ functionality in REACH-IT) without undue delay.
If your substance has been registered by a UK-based importer, that registration will not exist after the UK’s withdrawal. This means that to continue having access to the EU market, the imported substance will need to be registered by an EU-27/EEA-based legal entity. To this end, you can appoint an only representative located within the EU-27/EEA to carry out the required registration of the imported substance. Alternatively, your customers within the EU-27/EEA will each have to register the substances they import.