BREXIT SERIES: REACH AND BREXIT: UPDATED POSITION since article published 23 January

Following ratification of the EU Withdrawal Agreement by both the UK and EU parliaments, the UK formally exited the European Union at 11pm, UK time, on 31st January 2020.

In accordance with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, a transitional ‘implementation period’ has now commenced, during which negotiations regarding the nature of the EU/UK future relationship will take place.

During this implementation period, there will be little or no impact on supply chains relating to substances which fall within the scope of REACH regulation EC 1907/2006. This is because EU law continues to apply during the implementation period.

Chemical manufacturers, formulators, importers, downstream users and Only Representatives based in the UK are required to follow the same rules as their equivalents in other EU member states during this period. 

At present, the UK Government intends that the implementation period should not extend beyond 2020. It is therefore anticipated that the implementation period will last 11 months. 

Retaining EU and UK Market Access After the Implementation Period 

It is not currently possible to determine with any certainty what type of future UK/EU relationship will be negotiated during the implementation period.  However, recent UK Government interviews and media coverage indicate that divergence from EU law should be expected. As such, chemical manufacturers, formulators, importers, downstream users and Only Representatives based in both the UK and the EU must put in place effective strategies to mitigate the potential impacts of Brexit.

Assuming a separate ‘UK REACH’ regime enters into force from 1st January 2021 (note that under the ‘The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/758)’ and subsequent amendments, the EU REACH Regulation has been adapted for the domestic UK context) then companies supplying ‘in scope’ substances in the UK will need to ensure that a valid ‘UK REACH’ registration has been completed by an actor within their supply chain. Likewise, for UK based legal entities wishing to retain (or commence) market access in the EU beyond the implementation period, a separate EU REACH registration must have been submitted by an actor in their supply chain.

Our experts have a wealth of experience of supporting clients with all their REACH support needs. We have offices in the UK and across Europe, and so can support ongoing access to both markets, regardless of your location.  In addition, we have been involved in testing the UK Government’s developing ‘Comply with UK REACH’ service to support the anticipated go-live of a separate ‘UK REACH’ regime, and so can provide detailed guidance on what to expect under ‘UK REACH’ in 2021.

Contact our experts for strategic and regulatory advice relating to REACH and Brexit:
REACH Team Leader
Phone: +44 (0)1937 587962