London, UK – The UK government wants associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) after it leaves the EU, prime minister Theresa May said in a statement.
It is unclear what associate membership of ECHA means, but the proposal has been welcomed by chemical industry bodies.
‘We urge the UK and EU negotiating partners, and all of the European chemical industry, to respond positively to this initiative, keeping in mind the desired aim of minimal disruption to EU chemicals trade and investment as an outcome from Brexit,’ said Steve Elliott, Chemical Industries Association CEO.
‘Theresa May’s commitment to enabling the continued involvement of UK officials in Reach would be welcomed by our European partners. Avoiding duplicate testing would also protect a decade of investment in Reach by chemical businesses in the UK,’ Elliott added.
The Chemical Business Association agrees. ‘The industry has invested many millions of pounds in complying with these regulations, CBA’s CEO Peter Newport said.
He added that Reach regulations form a central contractual term in commercial agreements. ‘Regulatory compliance is the key to market access. Without it there can be no trade,’ he said.
CBA claims Brexit-related uncertainty has already hit the chemical supply chain. A number of EU distributors and manufacturers are repatriating chemicals to avoid potential post-Brexit problems. Some CBA members have also set up new subsidiary companies on mainland Europe.