BREXIT – Update for the chemicals sector

Date: 16 March 2020

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 can't make mutually accepted agreements on the future standards and regulations for chemicals.

BREXIT – The United Kingdom (UK) has left the EU

Date: 3 February 2020

A transition period is now in place and will end on 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the EU and UK will negotiate additional arrangements and market access continues on the same terms as before.

Regarding the regulation of pesticides during this period, the following should be known: Active substance approvals, plant protection products authorisation and maximum residue levels in place before BREXIT remain valid and any new EU decisions will apply to UK. The UK is no longer a ‘leading authority’ in EU for Maximum Residue Level applications or active substance approval and no longer acts as a zonal rapporteur Member State for EU plant protection product authorisations. HSE remains the UK's national regulator.

More details on the transition period you can find here: Brexit: Transition period

More details on the rules that apply specifically for the regulation of plant protection products are available here: Regulating pesticides during the transition period

Following the transition period, new rules for doing business in UK and EU will apply. Check here to obtain a short overview: Check how to get ready for new rules in 2021


Additional evaluation time due to RMS re-allocation

Date: 28 January 2020

Applicants must be aware that due to the Brexit and the RMS re-allocation from the UK to other member states, delays in evaluations are expected. In the specific case, the time frames for an active substance were postponed by 5 months to allow sufficient time for the new RMS to take over the tasks and responsibilities from the former RMS UK, following their request, the discussions of the substance in the peer review expert meetings. This cause also delays in the overall timeline for the completion of the peer review for this substance.