Since 1 February 2020 the UK is not a Member State of the EU any more. During the transition period that has been agreed to last until 31 December 2020, current terms of market access and thus EU-UK trade remain unchanged.

What does it mean for businesses operating in the chemicals sector?

  • EU REACH continues to apply to the UK (and so the UK will continue to implement REACH decisions but it will not be actively involved as a ‘leading authority’ any longer).
  • All registrations, approvals, authorisations and classifications in place before the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 continue to be valid.
  • UK companies still need to register chemical substances under EU-REACH.

Whereas the legal and regulatory status for all the actors in the chemical industry is clear and reliable (at least) until the end of the year 2020, the outlook into the future EU-UK trade relationship and its impact on the chemical industry are almost impossible to predict at the moment. In their regulatory opening positions prior to entering the expectedly difficult negotiations (published on 3 February 2020), significant divergence between the EU and the UK has emerged. This means that the possibility of a no-deal scenario is not ruled out, in case both sides won’t be able to make mutually accepted agreements on the future standards and regulations for chemicals.