This practical session offered advice to companies on how to navigate the complex web of chemicals management and EU-UK trade post-Brexit. Following its long trading history, UK and EU chemical sectors are important markets with highly integrated supply chains: in 2019 bilateral EU27 – UK chemicals trade amounted to about €45 billion. A no-deal Brexit would not only impact chemical businesses on both sides of the Channel but also the whole manufacturing sector in Europe. Key points:
- From 1 January 2021, the UK will put in place its own chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH, which aims to mirror EU REACH and minimise disruption to supply chains for chemicals. The UK and EU will operate their own REACH, and the systems will not be linked.
- Import duties on chemicals are low but typically chemicals can cross the Channel several times before they end up in final articles. Combined with a lengthy customs procedure, this will likely cause disruption of supply chains on both side of the Channel.
- Businesses will need to take steps to ensure regulatory requirements are fulfilled in both the UK and EU to maintain continuity of supply chains. ECHA has dedicated Brexit webpages and services, supporting companies with practical tips.
“Chemicals regulations are a barrier to market access that is costly and burdensome, especially for medium-sized or small companies – if it’s too costly, they’ll will simply have to forego accessing a market. If there’s any substance disappearing, this will not only impact the chemicals value chain but also downstream users” René van Sloten, Executive Director Industrial Policy – Cefic
See DEFRA and ECHA PowerPoints