UK’s post-Brexit stance on REACH registration and compliance
In a new Brexit paper, released on 21st August, the UK states its position on where businesses stand when they have undertaken compliance activities prior to Britain leaving the EU. The main conclusion of this paper is that businesses who place goods on the market before exit from the EU will not have to duplicate compliance activities.
There is often a number of complex, lengthy and often costly procedures required of businesses so that they are compliant. For importers and manufacturers of chemical substances, these concern REACH registration, which involves collecting and submitting data on the hazards and risks of a chemical substance. In this instance the compliance activity will remain valid if it took place before exit, and this should be recognised in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Registration is a complex process under REACH and there are further obligations after this, the UK wants to avoid unnecessary duplication of such activities on both the EU and UK markets. Therefore, the UK proposes that for any compliance activity recognised through the withdrawal agreement, the authority and business should be able to continue to carry out ongoing functions for relevant products or types of products for both the UK and EU markets and this activity can take place in their location as at the date of withdrawal.
Where there are ongoing obligations for the assessment bodies, such as evaluation under REACH, the UK proposes that bodies should continue to carry out assessments for the product life-time. Hence results of such bodies will be recognised in both the UK and EU markets. The UK wants to ensure that approvals, registrations, certificates and authorisations issued by a third party prior to exit should be continued to be recognised as valid by both markets after the UK's withdrawal. The approvals should be valid for the intended time period or product life-cycle to avoid the need for retesting of products.
The UK wants the agreement to continue to facilitate the oversight of goods and hence ensure action is taken on non-compliant goods. There is importance of the UK and EU being able to trace products through the supply chain when they are placed on both markets. Market surveillance and enforcement authorities are essential to provide oversight and to facilitate exchange information about unsafe products. The agreement should be guided by the continued recognition of assessment bodies to fulfil any ongoing obligations. Furthermore, both the UK and EU must have confidence in the competence of bodies carrying out ongoing obligations. Such obligations may involve the use of mechanisms such as accreditation and use of international standards. Finally, the agreement should facilitate ongoing data exchange which is currently provided for under sectoral measures.
In general, the UK's proposal paper aims to ensure that REACH registrations before Brexit are still valid in the UK and EU afterward. Furthermore, the UK proposes that compliance activities continue for the life time of the product and that these are overseen by the competent authorities. It is crucial that processes such as registrations are not duplicated, hence companies aren't burdened with unnecessary time consuming and costly activities.
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