Chemicals Export / Import Regulation

Exporters of certain hazardous chemicals to non-EU countries have particular obligations (Export-Import Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 (further amended by Regulation (EU) 2018/172). The objective of this law is to allow countries to monitor and to control the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. It also allows countries to refuse export and/or to place certain conditions on their import.

Regarding Brexit, the UK withdrew from the Union on the 31 January 2020. However, with the ratification of the withdrawal agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol, a transitional period will apply until 31 December 2020 and until that date UK companies will continue to comply with EU chemicals legislation and will still remain in a single customs area with the Union.

The EU Commission has clarified the legal situation after the end of the Brexit transition period for the export and import of hazardous chemicals listed in the Export-Import Regulation, in a Readiness Notice published by the EU Commission 17th July 2020. After the end of the transition period, EU law on the export and import of hazardous chemicals no longer applies to the United Kingdom. 

From 1st January 2021, any export of chemicals listed in Annex I Part 1 of the Regulation from the EU to Great Britain, i.e. England, Scotland and Wales, will require an export notification at least 35 days prior to the expected date of export. From this date, any export of PIC Annex I Part 2 & 3 chemicals from the EU to Great Britain will additionally require explicit consent. The import of chemicals listed in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention from Great Britain will require an import decision of the EU. Further specific details can be read in Part A of the Readiness Notice.

The Northern Ireland Protocol provides that the Export-Import Regulation will continue to apply to Northern Ireland for four years following the end of the transition period. During this four year period, shipments of chemicals between Northern Ireland and the EU will not be considered as exports/imports under the Regulation and shipments of chemicals between Northern Ireland and third countries must continue to comply with the Regulation, including export notifications, explicit consent requests and EU import responses. 

The shipment of chemicals from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will comply with the parts of the Export-Import Regulation that implement the Rotterdam Convention. Therefore, from 1st January 2021, any Northern Ireland export of Annex I Part 1 chemicals to Great Britain will require export notification at least 35 days prior to the expected date of  export. However, Northern Ireland exports of Annex I Part 2 chemicals to Great Britain will not include the additional requirement for explicit consent. The import of chemicals listed in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will continue to require an import decision of the EU. Further specific details can be read in Part C of the Readiness Notice.

Further details on the Export Import Regulation are available here while information regarding the post-UK withdrawal is available on ECHA’s website.