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Up until the moment I was writing this post, it still seemed that the United Kingdom will exit the EU on 31 October 2019 – with or without the agreement.

What does this mean for all of you who are importing substances or mixtures from the UK to the EU?

The answer to the question above differs from case to case. I want to focus on substance registration. This "small thing" can suddenly, if you are not careful enough, stop your entire business. 

Substance registration, currently made only by manufacturers, importers or only representatives with head office in the United Kingdom, will become "empty".

This actually means that as of the above date, these registrations will become purposeless for entities within the EU-27/EEC.

Manufacturers, importers or sole representatives with head office in the United Kingdom can avoid this, if they transfer their registrations to a legal entity within the EU-27/EEC before Brexit.

But what if they do not do that? What can you as a downstream user?

First, check if you are a downstream user. REACH Regulation defines downstream users as follows:

"downstream user means any natural or legal person established within the Community, other than the manufacturer or the importer, who uses a substance, either on its own or in a mixture, in the course of his industrial or professional activities. A distributor or a consumer is not a downstream user.
A re-importer exempted pursuant to Article 2(7)(c) shall be regarded as a downstream user."

Second, if you are a downstream user, we recommend you check which substances are on the list of substances, registered only by companies in the UK. The current list of active registrations in the United Kingdom and without active registrations in the companies within the EU-27/EEC is available here.

If the substance is on the list, then you will become an importer after 31 October 2019, and you will not be allowed to import more than 1 tonne of that substance per year from the United Kingdom. You then have two options enabling your smooth operations after Brexit:

  • Search for substances that are not registered only in the United Kingdom as soon as possible (to avoid costs of additional registration and time-consuming procedures that impact your operations).
  • If, despite this, you intend to import an individual substance on the list from the United Kingdom, in quantity of more than 1 tonne of it per year, you will be obliged to register that substance as an importer in accordance with REACH Regulation.

If your substances are not on the above-mentioned list, then you can continue your business worry-free after the mentioned date.

If you consider my advice, you will be ready for business even after Brexit, since you will be prepared for potential problems with the supply of substances, if the REACH registrations will not be transferred within the EU-27/EEC.

Brexit is a real challenge for all stakeholders. Please, send us any questions you might have regarding this topic and we will do our best to answer them.

Information on this blog is prepared with utmost care, but it is not about (chemical) consulting, and the provider does not assume any responsibility or liability for the correctness, accuracy and up-to-dateness of published content. If you need advice for a specific case, you can write to us at
REACH Other | October 3, 2019

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