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Echa releases comprehensive Brexit chemicals instructions

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Echa has published detailed instructions for all companies placing chemical substances onto EU and European Economic Area markets in the event that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March.

The agency launched new webpages on 8 February with the recommendation that companies prepare for a no-deal scenario.

British prime minister Theresa May sat down with European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on 7 February in an attempt to seek changes to the withdrawal deal that UK MPs rejected in January. Ms May is scheduled to hold another meeting with Mr Juncker before the end of February.

In a statement Echa said: "With continued political uncertainty regarding the withdrawal agreement, the agency urges companies to act now to continue complying with their obligations" under REACH, classification, labelling and packaging (CLP), prior informed consent (Pic) and biocidal products (BPR) Regulations.

To keep REACH registered substances legally on the EU27/EEA market, UK-based manufacturers and formulators can either transfer their business to one of the EU27/EEA countries or appoint an only representative (OR) there.

Brexit ‘window’

Echa will open a ‘Brexit window’ in the REACH-IT system from 12 to 29 March to enable UK-based companies to make these changes and transfer their REACH registrations. If an OR is not appointed, the EU27/EEA importers will have to submit their own registrations, it said.

"Step-by-step instructions" for using the window are now available on Echa’s webpages for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The pages also include a link to Cefic’s recommended standard wording for the suspensive condition clause to be used in contractual arrangements when appointing ORs.

If a downstream user in one of the EU27/EEA countries relies on REACH authorisations granted to a UK-based company, they need to make sure that there is another EU27/EEA supplier with a valid authorisation for their use, the agency added.

EU27 companies will also need to notify their exports of hazardous substances regulated under Pic when exporting to the UK. This will be done using the ePIC tool. The export notification in ePIC needs to be submitted 35 days before export – a deadline that has raised concerns from various bodies including Echa and Cefic.

Echa said it will "soon clarify" how to deal with exports to the UK during the period immediately after the its departure from the EU.

Companies based in the EU27/EEA will also need to prepare for placing substances on the UK market after 29 March, which will be governed by British law. It will be administered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which has published guidance on regulations including REACH, and CLP and Pic.

Echa regularly updates its Brexit Q&A webpage with advice for industry.

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