REACH requires all companies manufacturing, importing or placing a substance on the EU market in quantities greater than 1 t/year to register that substance with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
Article 3 (4), (9) and (11) of the REACH regulation further stipulates that registrants must be established in the EU. This means that non-EU companies are not permitted to register substances under REACH. However, they may still place substances on the EU market by appointing an Only Representative (OR) who takes on their obligations for ensuring that substances imported are compliant with REACH Regulation.
The advantages of appointing an OR include
- once appointed, the OR takes on the role of importer, representing all of the EU customers of the non-EU manufacturer
- the OR completes the registration dossier on behalf of all of the EU importers – who then become downstream users
- if an importer registers a product, the importing company will own the registration. With an OR the non-European manufacturer owns the registration and therefore maintains the flexibility to grow or change the number of European importers they do business with
- you can gain advantages over other non-EU suppliers who do not appoint OR to register their substances
As a consequence of Brexit, since 29 March 2019, all UK-based registrants need to appoint a new Only Representative based in the EU to take over respective REACH registrations.