We have been engaging with a range of stakeholders, including importers, to understand the impacts of Brexit and deliver the best possible outcome for the industry after we leave. Our priority is to maintain an effective regulatory system for the management and control of chemicals to safeguard human health and the environment, respond to emerging risks and allow trade with the EU that is as frictionless as possible.
That is why we are aiming for a UK-EU free trade area on goods including chemicals. The chemical sector is highly regulated and, as set out in the White Paper ‘The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union’ published on 12 July 2018, we are seeking participation in the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), accepting its rules including the REACH Regulation, and contributing to its costs. This approach will enable us to meet our objective of ensuring that chemicals only need to be approved once in either market and ensure that UK businesses could continue to register chemical substances directly, rather than working through an EU-based representative.
In the event of a no deal scenario we will ensure an effective regulatory system is in place. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act will convert REACH into domestic law ensuring that those regulations continue to apply in the UK. As part of the Government’s Technical Notices being published later this month, we will be providing further information on our plans for this scenario in order to guide businesses and the public on how they can best prepare for leaving the EU.