PIC notifications (EU Brexit)

Helsinki, 8 February 2019 – ECHA recommends companies to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario ahead of the UK’s withdrawal on 30 March 2019.

If a downstream user in one of the EU-27/EEA countries relies on REACH authorisations granted to a UK-based company, they need to make sure that there is another EU-27/EEA supplier with a valid authorisation for their use.

EU-27 companies will also need to notify their exports of hazardous substances regulated under the PIC Regulation when exporting to the UK. This will be done using the ePIC tool. The export notification in ePIC needs to be submitted 35 days before the export. ECHA will soon clarify how to deal with exports to the UK during the period right after the UK’s effective withdrawal.

Companies based in the EU-27/EEA will also need to prepare for placing substances on the UK market after 29 March, which will be governed by UK law. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published respective guidance.

Please keep following this Blog.

REACH registrations (UK Brexit)

ECHA has just now (8th February) announced new instructions for Chemicals export to the EU and the EEA. Here

To keep substances that are registered under REACH legally on the EU-27/EEA market, UK-based manufacturers and formulators can either transfer their business to, or appoint an only representative in, one of the EU-27/EEA countries.

Subject to further developments, ECHA will open a ‘Brexit window’ in REACH-IT from 12 to 29 March, 24:00 hours CET (11 p.m. UK time) to enable UK-based companies to make these changes and transfer their REACH registrations. If an only representative is not appointed, the EU-27/EEA importers will have to submit their own registrations.

Step-by-step instructions for using the ‘Brexit window’ are now available on ECHA’s web pages for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The pages also include a link to the European Chemical Industry Council’s (Cefic) recommended standard wording for the suspensive conditional clause to be used in contractual arrangements when appointing only representatives.

If a downstream user in one of the EU-27/EEA countries relies on REACH authorisations granted to a UK-based company, they need to make sure that there is another EU-27/EEA supplier with a valid authorisation for their use.

Companies based in the EU-27/EEA will also need to prepare for placing substances on the UK market after 29 March, which will be governed by UK law. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published respective guidance.

Further details, including a list of substances registered only by UK companies, are available on ECHA’s web pages for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Access to the ECHA’s web pages is found from the above link in this Blog post.

Sourcing Products from the UK (Ireland Brexit)

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Ireland) has (5th Feb) reminded companies in Ireland sourcing products from the UK that they will take additional responsibilities as EU importers after Brexit. Here

In this communication, the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD said “Before the UK leaves the EU, it is critical that businesses assess all aspects of their potential exposure. After Brexit, companies in Ireland will no longer be able to rely on UK-based Notified Bodies to undertake third party conformity assessments required under relevant EU law. They will instead need to source an EU-based Notified Body legally designated to carry conformity assessments. A list of Notified Bodies is available on the EU ‘NANDO’ website”.

Irish businesses are also advised that

• Products imported from the UK post-Brexit need to be EU compliant.

• Businesses need to understand the vulnerabilities in their supply chains. They need to know the full supply chain for all their products (machinery, chemicals, etc.) and how it is linked to the UK, including via distributors.

• Irish companies sourcing their product from the UK after Brexit may become an EU importer with additional legal responsibilities for compliance of the product with EU law.

• When UK leaves, UK registrations, authorization or notifications under REACH and CLP will not be valid. This means the role of businesses in Ireland may change from being a downstream user of chemicals to an importer.

The communication references the useful EU issued Q&A for Businesses (industrial products) – here.

Visa-free Travel (EU Brexit)

After Brexit, UK nationals will be classed as Third Country Nationals (TCNs) in EU law. This morning, the following press release is issued, here.

Exit without a deal is 29 March 2019.

The Withdrawal Agreement continues the application of EU law (in a transition period) for a further 18 months until 31st Dec 2020, if ratified. TCN status would then apply later. A Free Trade Deal (FTA) agreed between the EU and the UK could change this.

EU ambassadors today agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa free travel. Ambassadors mandated the Council Presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament on this legislative proposal.

According to EU rules, visa exemption is granted on condition of reciprocity. The government of the United Kingdom has stated that it does not intend to require a visa from EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays. In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the three institutions and the member states would commit to act without delay in applying the mechanism.

Visa policy towards third country citizens travelling to the Schengen area for a short stay is regulated under EU legislation. Existing rules include all third country nationals under one of two lists: nationals of third countries required to be in possession of a visa and those exempt from this requirement. Following Brexit, as a third country the United Kingdom will need to appear under one of these two lists.

Brexit Update (EU, UK, Ireland)

Yesterday was a series of votes in the UK Parliament on the matter. Monday, the day before, was an announcement from the UK, and today there are announcements from the EU.

UK

(1) New European Temporary Leave to Remain. This will apply to EU and EEA nationals arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019. Persons wishing to stay longer than three months must apply and be granted European Temporary Leave to Remain which will last three years (and is non-renewable). Persons wishing to stay or to arrive after 1st Jan 2021 must do so under the new UK skills-based immigration system (the legislation is before Parliament).

The European Temporary Leave to Remain applies is there is no deal. If there is a deal that has the transitional arrangements set out in the current deal (that is not yet ratified) then registration under EU rules will apply after 29 March 2019. There is no announcement to elaborate that system, yet.

(2) Yesterday’s votes in Parliament do not ratify the deal (Withdrawal Agreement and Future Partnership Declaration). A further vote will take place on 14th February. It is not certain if that vote will ratify the deal. I will Blog post again.

(3) there is also an announcement re healthcare as respects UK nationals living in the EU/EEA area and Switzerland, here. See here for the position vis a vis Ireland.

(4) I updated (on the Blog post itself) re the expedited customs procedures that are planned for imports from the EU/EEA. I posted about these recently. Note as presently planned, these will not apply to the international border on the island of Ireland.

(5) Further Brexit regulations are in draft form and enacted – see the Brexit Law List in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Checklists.

EU

(1) the EU has a contingency plan and measures already published, and these are the Factsheets and Q&A here.

(2) today, the EU has published further measures, these deal with social security coordination, amongst other matters. And earlier the EU had issued measures to deal with Fisheries. The Press Release for today’s publication is here, and it has useful links from it.

Ireland

An omnibus bill of contingency measures is now published, here. Amongst other matters, this includes Healthcare.

Brexit Status (20 Dec 2018) (UK and EU)

Today, less than 100 days remain before exit day.

The EU has published Brexit Preparedness Notices, a proposed Contingency Action Plan, proposed Implementation of the Contingency Action Plan (which has further measures), and a Q&A about the Contingency Action Plan. This information is found here.

Please check all parts of the EU information.

The UK has published Technical Notices, and republished some of these yesterday with some updates. This information is here.

Please check all parts of the UK information, ignore the update date at the head of the page, scroll down and the update position of each document is visible.

In addition, ECHA, HMRC, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Transport, and HSE, have each published additional guidance. Please check in the categories Chemicals, UK Brexit Notices and EU Brexit Notices, on this Blog.

In addition, Brexit laws are being proposed and enacted at UK level and also at EU level. The continually updating Brexit Law List (of global OHS and ENV) is added to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

In summary : (if there is no deal) so far – (main points)

(1) air service agreements are in place with certain countries

(2) plans are in place to stockpile medicines

(3) membership of the Common Transit Convention is negotiated – this facilitates cross-border trade, but does not remove the need for all checks

(4) UK air service providers will be permitted to fly between the UK and an EU destination, but they will not be allowed to fly between EU27 cities

(5) on financial services, the Commission is granting ‘equivalence’ in a very limited number of areas, for a period of up to 24 months, and I posted about other limited arrangements that are granted. This will not fully remove the need for some firms to reregister their services with an EU regulator – and the decision could be unilaterally revoked by the Commission at any point

[financial services are beyond the scope of this Blog]

(6) the EU will allow UK hauliers to enter the EU, to continue transporting goods (provided this is reciprocal) – meaning they will not need to apply for the limited number of alternative permits available – but that only runs for nine months

[I corrected my post online, because I had initially said more permits would be available]

(7) the EU has said UK exports will face EU tariffs as with any third country. UK exporters will also be required to go through full customs processes, which the Commission stresses member states need to be ready to manage. The UK is writing to companies with further information on the steps they must take, some members states are also enacting legislation and engaging with companies.

(8) the Swiss existing trade agreement (with the EU) is now rolled-over

(9) HSE will take over from ECHA on REACH – the UK will operate its own chemicals system

(10) the Environment Agency will handle F-gas and ODS quotas

(11) the UK yesterday published its immigration white paper (a single system will be put in place from 2021, this single system will extend the non-EU nationals system to EU and EEA nationals with some tweaks)

[the UK has or is in the last stages of agreements with the EEA and EFTA states – people (outside of occupational health and safety) aspects are beyond the scope of this Blog]

UPDATE (20 Dec 2018) – the EEA EFTA separation agreement covers withdrawal aspects wider than people. The document is here.

UPDATE (20 Dec 2018) – the Immigration bill is here. (it’s very short and narrowly drawn, it ends free movement and confirms rights for Irish nationals)

(12) the UK will withdraw its experts from Seville, and issue its own UK version of BATC documents (industrial emissions control)

(13) participation in EUETS will not be possible, and the UK will put in place a carbon tax

(14) the UK has laid Fisheries and Agriculture bills, and the UK will imminently lay the governance and principles part of the new Environment bill – the UK will operate its own fisheries, agriculture, and environment systems

(15) UPDATE (20 Dec 2018) Leo Varadkar (Irish Taoiseach) today says a hard border would not be an immediacy in the case of ‘no deal’ because the UK/NI would still (at 11:01pm on March 29) still be in alignment with EU/RoI customs and regulations, and a border would only be necessitated by divergence.

(16) UPDATE (29 Dec 2018) UK-US bi-lateral agreed (insurance and re-insurance) to replace the EU arrangement – here.

I am offering subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists opportunities to discuss Brexit with me in 2019 (additional to Annual Reviews). Please email me.

I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas!

EU No Deal Contingency Plan Update (EU Brexit)

As they promised, the European Commission has now published its update to its contingency plan for No Deal – 14 legal measures. This document is here.

(1) The Commission repeats its prior position – the EU no deal measures are unilateral, limited and temporary. Adds that they will not apply to Gibraltar.

(2) Re UK nationals in the EU Bloc, the Commission repeats its prior position that they should get residence permits. Silence re acquired rights.

(3) The Commission will issue guidance on social security coordination.

(4) Re Financial Services, the Commission will use its own secondary law powers to immediately adopt unilateral measures. Two of these were already announced.

EU bloc firms will be permitted one year access to derivatives clearing houses in the UK, and two years access to central securities depositories in the UK that settle trades (already announced), and a year-long window will be opened for EU bloc organisations to change the contractual terms of over the counter derivatives.

(5) Re Aviation and International Road Haulage, two legal acts will allow airlines to fly point to point between UK and European cities, the most basic form of landing rights. Aviation safety certificates are also temporarily extended. [these measures were already announced]

[still no measures for ownership rights, an extremely difficult problem for the International Airlines Group (Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling), which falls below the threshold to maintain its EU flying licences]

9 months of permit-free commercial road haulage, if reciprocal.

(6) Re Trade in Goods, the Commission confirms that general rules will apply, ie tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Adopts an immediate change to EU customs law and proposes a law on exports of dual use goods to the UK (civil goods with military uses).

Time limits are adjusted for customs declarations, but there are no special waivers to help with ro-to ferries at ports.

(7) Re EU Climate Change Policy, the Commission will immediately adopt three measures to take account of Brexit, one applies from January 2019 already.

FURTHER INFORMATION IS SET OUT IN THIS Q&A here.

I will add this document and the global ENV and OHS relevant legal measures to the Brexit Law List in Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.