If you want to sell hazardous chemicals in the Slovenian market you must firstly obtain a license to trade in chemicals. Here are two conditions for getting that license:
- Your company must be registered in Slovenia (registered to sell chemical products or a similar activity; there are several possible codes according to the Standard Classification of Activities).
- You must appoint an appropriately licensed chemicals consultant.
Here’s the important disclaimer about the Slovenian Chemicals Act. It regulates only the field of hazardous chemicals. If your chemicals are not considered hazardous, the above conditions do not apply – the Chemicals Act does not apply in such cases. However, this does not mean that another regulation does not apply to your specific chemicals. Special attention should be paid to biocides, phytopharmaceuticals (plant protection products), oils and lubricants, paints and coatings, detergents, and other specific products.
But what if you don’t have company registered in Slovenia? In other words…
How can you sell chemicals if your company is NOT registered in Slovenia?
If you want to sell HAZARDOUS chemicals in the Slovenian market, but do not meet the first condition (company registration), you have four options:
- Direct sales to individual buyers.
- Agreement with a Slovenian distributer.
- Establish a new company or an affiliate in Slovenia.
- Appoint an (administrative) representative under the Chemicals Act.
Let's now look at each option below, with their advantages and disadvantages.
- Direct sales to individual buyers
In this case Slovenian buyers buy your products directly from you.
This option is reasonable and recommendable in cases when you have only a few permanent (known) buyers in Slovenia who buy only a few of your products.
Manufacturers or suppliers of industrial products who supply to industrial buyers that are also final users of such products often use this option.
The main advantage for you here is that Slovenian regulations do not concern you in any way – each (Slovenian) buyer must fulfil the requirements stipulated by local regulations.
On the other hand, there are also weaknesses you need to be aware of. Every buyer must fulfil the requirements stipulated by local regulations (i.e., on chemicals) – this can be quite a burden for the buyer.
Let's quickly look at one example to put things in perspective.
If the trade involves a hazardous chemical or biocide, the buyer must provide for all documentation and the registration of hazardous chemicals or the registration of biocides and pays all related costs. Since this is quite an additional burden for buyers, they often opt for a supplier who has already arranged these matters. In other words: buyers make purchases where it is most easy for them. Suppliers with better support or service are frequently prioritized (those who are more buyer-friendly).
I see this option as reasonable and recommendable in cases when you have only a few permanent (known) buyers in Slovenia who buy only a few of your products.
This option involves finding a suitable company in Slovenia to market your chemicals as a distributor.
The role of a distributor is therefore taken by a company that:
- is already registered in accordance with Slovenian regulations and
- already operates in the Slovenian market.
The main advantage here is obvious - you only have one buyer in Slovenia, i.e., the distributor who markets your chemicals in the Slovenian market. If the distributor is a known company that has been operating in Slovenia for some time, then you also acquire a certain market (distributor's buyers).
In this case the distributor must fulfil the conditions stipulated by Slovenian regulations (regulations on chemicals, on taxes etc.). You do not have to worry about anything; however, it is recommendable that you warn the distributor of certain specifics about your products and regulations, otherwise you can risk this relationship becoming a weakness.
Speaking of weaknesses, agreements, or negotiations with the distributor on the conditions can be quite time consuming. Secondly, the entire Slovenian market depends on one company and their engagement. And thirdly, you DO NOT emerge in the market under your name, but the distributor emerges under theirs (the distributor is mentioned on the packaging and safety sheets as the responsible person).
- New company or affiliate
As the name suggest this involves opening a new company or an affiliate in Slovenia. This company than operates as a Slovenian company.
Advantage here is you being independent and in full control. The parent company completely controls all the activities of the new company or the affiliate – you leave nothing to chance. That also means no intermediates come between you and your buyers.
How about weaknesses? These include costs, effort, and time to establish fully operational company.
What you need to account for in your plans are costs for establishing and operations of the company/affiliate. This includes among other things:
- hiring the right people,
- look for, build, or rent appropriate premises,
- studying and fulfilling regulations (finances, work regulations, fire safety, chemical regulations, taxes etc.),
- finding and acquiring customers (costs of opening a new market).
All these activities take considerable amount of your time and are unpredictable. If you are not in a hurry and have patience (and money) than this strategy might be right for you. The last options is…
- "Administrative" representative (hereinafter referred to as the representative)
If you want to avoid the fuss around opening a new company or an affiliate or searching for a distributor, you can choose a representative to represent you in administrative procedures at chemicals authorities (Chemical Office of the Republic of Slovenia).
One of the main advantage of this option is that your representative operates in your name and on your behalf (direct representation).
You obtain the license to trade in chemicals in Slovenia in your own name (and your company). For example: "Company, Berlin, Germany" is granted the license under the name "Company Berlin, Germany ". So, you emerge in the market in your name (and with your name) – the packaging and documents bear your company name. There are no intermediaries come between you and your buyers.
This means you (company in the EU) authorize a representative to arrange everything regarding the Chemicals Act in your name, so that you can sell chemicals easily in Slovenia. Now, you need to be aware that only companies from the EU may appoint a representative in Slovenia. Companies from non-EU countries cannot appoint a representative in Slovenia, but only opt for the first three options (points 1 to 3).
The representative therefore operates and supports you only in administrative procedures and in accordance with the Chemicals Act. That means all commercial activities are performed directly with the buyers: you deliver the goods directly to the buyer, and invoices and payments are made directly.
A representative does not play any role in commercial matters (marketing, seeking new customers etc.). Their only concern is administration: obtaining the license to trade or store chemicals, registering hazardous chemicals and biocides, representation at inspections, translations of safety sheets and labels.
This option is definitely fast and inexpensive as you avoid costs of establishing a company or operating costs.
But there are also weaknesses. A representative only operates based on the Chemicals Act and in matters based on this act.
A representative cannot represent you in administrative procedures based on other acts/regulations. Let’s look at another example: A representative cannot represent you at financial national bodies (customs) in registering, calculating, or paying environmental fees. They cannot register or pay environmental fees in your name for paints and coatings that contain VOC (volatile organic compounds), for oils and lubricants, packaging etc. These activities must be implemented by buyers themselves.
This concludes this overview of options when it comes to selling your HAZARDOUS chemicals in the Slovenian market. I’ve tried to give you also the pros and cons of every option so you can decide which fits best in your plans.
The optimal approach, however, always depends on your interests, plans and activities. In our experience, appointing a representative is the simplest and quickest option. You can start selling your products directly and worry free in the Slovenian market within only 10 days. In terms of costs, this option is the least risky.
But your case might be different. And if you need our help on a specific case just drop me an email at email@example.com. Getting in contact with me doesn’t cost a cent – but could save you lots of time, energy and money.