Source: Creative Commons (Flickr).
Source: Creative Commons (Flickr).

Ready, steady… Brexit!

On March 13, the Business Federation of the Spanish Chemical Industry (FEIQUE) in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investment, organised the event: "BREXIT and the implications of supply and use of chemical products". It was led by national and European authorities from the environmental health department, as well as several experts from the chemical industry field.

The main objective was to assess and inform chemical companies, whose activity of use or supply of products is related to the United Kingdom, on what possible implications Brexit will have on their businesses.

Since June 23, 2016 was voted the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, the European and British chemical industries have considered essential to reach an agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom that allows tariff-free trade and has access to a regulatory coherence that prevents market disruptions.

To achieve the latter, it would be necessary for the United Kingdom to remain within the REACH legislation, which operates within ECHA.

Currently, although the extension of the transition period has been approved by the British Parliament until June 30, it is now possible to transfer the REACH registration of a substance held by manufacturers, exclusive representatives or importers established in the United Kingdom to an appropriate entity established in EU27 / EEA or develop new working relationships with your EEA client.

Additionally, the buyer of chemicals imported from the United Kingdom (substances and / or mixtures) must have a written confirmation, where the UK supplier informs of their intention to transfer the registrations or that the registrations are scheduled to be transferred, as appropriate.

In case the above does not occur, the customer based in the EU will have to register the substance as an importer or will have to look for an alternative supplier with a valid REACH registration.

Currently, two possible scenarios can be considered: departure with or without agreement on June 30, 2019.

Main consequences of scenario 1:

withdrawal on 30 June 2019 under the Withdrawal Agreement, including a transition period until 31 December 2020

  • • The United Kingdom will be a third country.
  • • Continuation of the application of EU law in and to the United Kingdom: In general, EU law would continue to apply during the transition period.
  • • Exit from the institutional set-up: The United Kingdom would from 30 March 2019 no longer participate in EU decision-making, EU institutions, governance of EU bodies and agencies.
  • • Management of the transition period: The role of EU institutions in the supervision and enforcement of EU law in the United Kingdom would continue.
  • • Negotiation of the future relationship: The European Union should negotiate with the United Kingdom an agreement on the future relationship which should ideally be in place (agreed, signed and ratified) at the end of the transition period and apply as from 1 January 2021.

Main consequences of scenario 2:

withdrawal on 30 June 2019 without a withdrawal agreement

  • • The United Kingdom will be a third country and Union law ceases to apply to and in the United Kingdom.
  • • Citizens: There would be no specific arrangement in place for EU citizens in the United Kingdom, or for UK citizens in the European Union.
  • • Border issues: The European Union must apply its regulation and tariffs at borders with the United Kingdom as a third country, including checks and controls for customs, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and verification of compliance with EU norms. Transport between the United Kingdom and the European Union would be severely impacted. Customs, sanitary and phytosanitary controls at borders could cause significant delays, e.g. in road transport, and difficulties for ports.
  • • Trade and regulatory issues: The United Kingdom becomes a third country whose relations with the European Union would be governed by general international public law, including rules of the World Trade Organisation. In particular, in heavily regulated sectors, this would represent a significant drawback compared to the current level of market integration.
  • • Negotiations with the United Kingdom: Depending on the circumstances leading to the withdrawal without an agreement, the EU may wish to enter into negotiations with the United Kingdom as a third country.
  • • EU funding: UK entities would cease to be eligible as Union entities for the purpose of receiving EU grants and participating in EU procurement procedures. Unless otherwise provided for by the legal provisions in force, candidates or tenderers from the United Kingdom could be rejected.

ECHA offers great support to companies on identifying new roles and actions that need to be taken.

Source: Creative Commons (Flickr).