Only Representative under REACH

Suppliers of chemicals and articles who want to continue their export to the European Union better check their obligations under the EU chemicals regulation REACH.

REACH came into force in June 2007 and it has obligations for all companies that manufacture, import, use or sell chemicals. But REACH is not only about substances as such or in preparations. It also affects the export business of cars, toys, computers and other articles.

Primarily, it is up to the importers who are required to fulfil the obligations of REACH. Depending on the kind of business, the tonnage of imported materials and the toxicological aspects of the goods it can be highly demanding to carry out the registrations that are required under REACH. In case the preparations or articles contain substances of very high concern, there are additional REACH obligations such as applying for authorisation and special communication requirements.

Besides the workload, all these activities can be expensive and some European distributors and downstream users may prefer to buy preparations or articles produced in the EU instead of import, since in the first case it is up to their European suppliers to do the registration.

The registration process under REACH requires a lot of detailed information to be finally submitted to the new European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki, Finland; and before, the importers need the support from their non-EU suppliers making the composition of the goods available.

Depending on the kind of business, some companies may not be willing to provide their customers with the details of their materials. They may consider this as confidential business information.

However, non-EU companies cannot register chemicals themselves in Helsinki. They need a natural or legal person in the European Union.

Non-EU suppliers may appoint an only representative established in the EU to fulfil the obligations of importers under REACH. In such a case, the importing clients are regarded as downstream users.

Besides the necessary registration, the only representative shall also comply with all other obligations under REACH. Therefore, he shall have good knowledge of REACH, sufficient background in the practical handling of substances, and shall also keep available and up-to-date information on quantities imported and customers sold to as well as on the latest update of the safety data sheet.

The only representative not only has a high responsibility under REACH but also needs to have a lot of detailed information on the goods to be imported into the EU. Some non-EU companies may prefer to keep the confidential information as much as possible within their company group, and they are worried how much they may be dependent on the only representative.

Ideally, the non-EU suppliers have an affiliate in the EU that can act as an importer or as an only representative. In latter case, the goods do not require channeling through the affiliate but can rather be imported by the regular customers. Nonetheless, these are regarded as downstream users under REACH if an only representative has been appointed.

However, many affiliates in the EU of non-EU suppliers may feel uncomfortable since their staff are business people having little expertise in performing regular affairs.

Prosacon has specialixed in the consulting service on REACH and the biocidal products regulation. We offer our support to non-EU companies that want to import their supply via their EU affiliates or want to appoint these as their only representative.

>>>next to get in contact with the REACH consultant Prosacon.

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