Another week, another glitch in the regulations which seems to have arisen due to Brexit.
Briefly, UK-REACH has a different definition for import compared to EU-REACH under Article 3, item 10, which means that all imports to GB are effectively within scope of UK-REACH, although the HSE helpdesk has said that there is an exemption for packages which are not opened. But any processing or repacking previously carried out under Customs supervision is theoretically in scope of UK-REACH!
EU REACH states: “import: means the physical introduction into the customs territory of the Community”
UK-REACH currently states: “import: means the physical introduction into Great Britain“, with no mention of customs territory, although it originally stated “import: means the physical introduction into United Kingdom customs territory of the Community” before being changed under SI 2020/1577, which brought in the Northern Ireland Protocol.
We think this is yet another incorrect piece of legislation, due to human error, but if this alteration to UK-REACH stands, it has very serious consequences for companies who import, process or repack, then re-export materials out of GB. (Northern Ireland is, of course, still operating under EU-REACH rules).
Full details in this factsheet here:Summary of UK-REACH and IPR issues, 26th October 2022
Mark Rowbotham of Portcullis ISC, our Customs expert, is also deeply concerned about this issue, and he has preparing two factsheets on the customs side of things, a one-page summary, and a longer document going into the details.
Summary of Customs Opinion on chemical imports in the UK (1 page)Summary of Customs Opinion on chemical imports to the UK
Mark also comments:
“UK REACH 3.10 is ambiguous to say the least. Introduction into Great Britain implies domestic Customs territory. Import into IPR or Customs Warehousing does NOT mean into the country, as the goods concerned are not actually in UK Free Circulation. With IPR, they will automatically be re-exported. With Customs Warehousing, they will only be introduced into Great Britain once they have been cleared out of the Customs Warehouse into GB Free Circulation on a Duty and VAT-paid basis. To this extent, Section 3.10 is not just ambiguous; it is also presumptuous, and extremely vague. Clarification is needed. REACH cannot apply if the goods are not in Free Circulation.”
I hope this is useful, and of course we are highlighting this to various large trade associations, specialist lawyers etc with a view to getting the law changed to include the previous definition of customs territory.
Hope this is useful, and please feel free to share this information as widely as possible so we can hopefully get this error corrected.
Janet Greenwood, TT Environmental Ltd
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