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The UKs withdrawal from the EU


My company is a downstream user located in the EU-27/EEA and relies on a REACH Authorisation granted to a UK supplier (or a pending application for an Authorisation). Will our use be covered after the UK withdrawal?

No. As the REACH Regulation will no longer apply to the UK upon the UK withdrawal from the EU, the REACH Authorisations (and pending authorisation applications) will lose their legal effect as of the date of the UK withdrawal.

Therefore, you will need to rely on a supplier with a valid Authorisation (or with a pending authorisation application) in the EU-27/EEA. If your supplier does not hold an authorisation, and you wish to continue to use the substance after the date of the UK withdrawal, you will yourself need to apply for an Authorisation. We recommend that you contact your supplier, to ask them about their intentions.

As for UK-based Authorisation holders (or authorisation applicants), there are a number of situations in which they can transfer their Authorisation (or pending authorisation application):

  1. UK-based manufacturers and formulators can transfer their Authorisation or pending application for authorisation to an Only Representative based in the EU-27/EEA;
  2. UK-based Only Representatives can transfer their Authorisation or pending application for authorisation to a new Only Representative based in EU-27/EEA, appointed by the non-EU manufacturer (also see Q&A 1250). Please note however that UK-based importers cannot transfer their Authorisation to an Only Representative in the EU-27/EEA.
  3. Like any EU-based legal entity, UK-based legal entities can currently transfer their Authorisation or pending application for authorisation where the transfer is the result of the change of legal entity referred to in Q&A 1239 (for instance, as the result of a merger, a split or an asset sale (sale of a production site or business)) and the person to whom it is transferred qualifies as manufacturer, importer or downstream user with regard to the substance(s) and the use(s) covered by the application for authorisation or the decision. A change of legal entity cannot extend the scope of the original application for authorisation or of the Authorisation, e.g. to cover different uses. (Please see Q&As 1239 and 1241 to 1249.).

With regard to the timing of such transfers:

  • In case 1, the transfer can only take effect on the occasion of the UK withdrawal (for detailed advice, please see Q&A 1466).
  • In cases 2 and 3, the transfer must take place ahead of the UK withdrawal and be notified to ECHA (through the ‘Legal entity change’ functionality in REACH-IT) without undue delay. In fact, ECHA recommends to initiate the transfer at least one week ahead of the UK withdrawal, to allow for a timely update should ECHA identify any issue with the attached documentation. It should also be noted that after this transfer, the UK-based company cannot continue its manufacturing / importing / Only Representative activity, as long as the REACH Regulation applies to the UK. If the UK-based company only intends to implement the transfer on the withdrawal date, it can include a suspensive clause in the transfer agreement with the successor company stipulating that the transfer takes effect on the date of UK withdrawal from the EU. In this case, after the legal entity change is initiated in REACH-IT, the successor legal entity should review the transfer, but not proceed to accept it before the UK’s withdrawal. (Please see also the instructions in the 'How to transfer your UK REACH registrations prior to the UK withdrawal from the EU' guide).

The advice provided above applies to both Authorisations and pending applications.

My EU-27-based company obtains its supplies of a chemical substance from a UK-based importer into the EU. When the UK withdrawal from the EU takes effect, our supplier will become an actor based in a “third country”. If we continue our business relations with our UK-based supplier, would our UK-based supplier be entitled to appoint our company as its Only Representative in the EU-27/EEA and transfer its registration to us, or would we need to register as an importer ourselves?

The latter is the case. You would need to act as an importer of the substance into the EU-27/EEA and submit a new registration. Article 8 of the REACH Regulation only allows manufacturers or producers of articles established outside the EU to appoint an Only Representative. This option will thus not be available to UK-based companies that will have been importers into the EU until the date of the UK withdrawal. Thus, it is not possible to transfer a registration of a UK importer to a newly appointed Only Representative. Non-EU manufacturers of the substance may of course appoint an EU-based Only Representative of the substance. However, such an Only Representative would then need to submit a new registration for the substance.

My EU-27-based company purchases a mixture from a UK-based company. Under the REACH and CLP Regulations, what impact will the UK withdrawal from the EU have on these supplies?

Once the UK withdrawal from the EU takes effect, your supplier will no longer qualify as an EU company. Therefore, you will need to ask your UK-based supplier if they will appoint an Only Representative to cover the necessary REACH registrations for the component substances of the mixture. If not, you will need to submit the relevant registrations as an importer yourself to be legally on the EU internal market.

Under CLP, you will now be the importer and thus will have the obligation to ensure that the imported mixture is correctly classified, labelled and packaged. You may also have the notification obligation to the Classification and Labelling Inventory.

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