On February 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union (EU) with an effective transition period until the 31 December 2020. During this transition period, the EU chemicals legislation, which includes REACH, CLP (but also BPR and PIC) continues to apply in the UK.

As of the 1 January 2021, the UK is considered a third-country with an independent chemical regulatory framework. Thus, the companies in Luxembourg are required to check whether they will be affected by the separation of the UK from the EU. More generally, if your company is based in Luxembourg or either of the remaining EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, EU legislation and obligations will continue to apply to you. However, if you have business partners in the UK, they will need to adjust their operations to follow the new UK chemicals legislation and your company might face a new role under the EU legislation.

In addition, in November 2020, the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland has been published.  For companies located in Northern Ireland, REACH and CLP (but also BPR, PIC and POPs regulations) continue to apply to those companiesafter the end of the transition period.  Therefore, this will not affect current obligations for EU companies which have business partners in Northern Ireland.

The following information explains the consequences on the registration, the authorisation and the CLP for the companies and the downstream users in Luxembourg/EU after the end of the transition period.

  • As of the end of the transition period, a substance not registered anymore in accordance with REACH can no longer be imported from the UK into Luxembourg/EU in quantities of 1 tonne or more per year without a prior new registration.
  • Luxembourgish/EU-based companies: if you supply chemicals from UK-based companies/suppliers, in order to have a valid registration for your chemicals, either of the following options are possible for you:
    • If you are relying on substance registration that is done by a UK-based company under REACH,  it is advised that you verify that the UK-based company has appointed an only representative established in one of the EU or EEA countries after the end of transition period. Alternatively, your Luxembourg-based company that is purchasing chemicals from the UK-based company has the obligation to register the substance as an importer.
    • If you supply chemicals through a UK-based supplier of chemicals which is currently an importer of chemicals from outside the EU/EEA, they have the option of moving their importing activity to the EU or EEA. Or, your Luxembourg/EU-based company that would like to continue supplying this substance from outside the EU/EEA, has the obligation to register the substance as an EU importer.
  • As for the only representative that is located in the UK, which represent a non-EU company, it is required for this non-EU company to appoint a new only representative, located within the EU/EEA, before the end of the transition period and notify to ECHA.
  • Downstream users in the Luxembourg/EU: If you are a downstream user in Luxembourg/EU, you should assess whether the substance used is registered by a registrant established in the EU also after the end of the transition period and whether their uses are covered by the registration. Where this is not the case, the downstream user in Luxembourg/EU should:
    • Contact the UK registrant to ensure that it plans to appoint an only representative;
    • Adapt the supply chain accordingly (i.e. identify an alternative supplier) and, in case the downstream use(s) are not supported, report them together with a downstream user chemical safety report; or
    • Register the substance in the capacity of importer or only representative appointed by the UK registrant
  • REACH authorisations granted to UK suppliers will no longer exist after the transition period. As a result, Luxembourg/EU-based companies relying on such authorisations will need to find suppliers with valid authorisations in Luxembourg/EU/EEA or apply for new authorisations themselves.
  • If you are an Luxembourgish/EU downstream user of an authorised substance by a UK-based authorisation holder/applicant, you have the following options to ensure that your substance has a valid authorisation at the end of the transition period:
    • You can apply and become an authorisation holder of the substance yourself;
    • UK-based only representatives can transfer their authorisation or pending application for authorisation to a new only representative based in Luxembourg/EU/EEA, appointed by the non-EU manufacturer. Please note, however, that UK-based importers cannot transfer their authorisation to an only representative in the EU/EEA.

As from the end of the transition period, if you (as a Luxembourgish/EU based company) would like to import mixtures/substances from the UK to Luxembourg/EU, you will need to comply with EU CLP regulation and thus take note of the following:

  • Classification and labelling: You will need to classify, label and package their substance/product according to the provisions of the CLP Regulation. You will also need to keep yourselves informed of any Adaptation to Technical Progress (ATP) by which the European Commission will be updating specific classification and labelling obligations.
  • Notification to C&L inventory:  An EU-based importer will have the obligation to submit the C&L notifications to ECHA. This applies to substances exported as such or in mixtures above the concentration limits triggering classification.
  • Notification to Poison Centre: EU-based importers also equally need to ensure that the mixtures are duly notified to the poison centres in the relevant member states before placing them in the EU market.