Miles Robinson, partner, and Daniel Cook, senior associate, at international law firm Mayer Brown, discuss the key considerations in the chemicals industry when drafting contracts post-Brexit
Harry Swan, CEO of Thomas Swan, describes the company’s approach to navigating the new post-Brexit rules and offers advice to other firms
Thomas Swan is an independent, family-run chemicals manufacturer that is based in County Durham, UK. I am the great-grandson of the founder and became CEO in 2006. The company dates back to 1926, so you might expect it to be experienced in handling change. Adapting to the UK’s new free trade deal with the EU is another challenge we have met head-on and we are confident of competing successfully in a global market.
In a letter to government ministers that has been seen by the Financial Times, 25 industry leaders have called for “a more proportionate, effective and efficient” post-Brexit chemical regulatory regime in the UK. The writers are understood to be from multiple trade associations, including the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), though this has not been confirmed.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has revealed that about 2,900 registrations of 268 chemicals by UK-based manufacturers, importers and only representatives under REACH have now been revoked and become void, because a transfer from a UK- to a EU-based registrant was not started by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
This equates to about 3% of all registrations and about 1% of all registered substances. Of these, about 60% were registered only for intermediate use, meaning that the market impact of their registration being revoked will be limited.
ECHA has announced that all REACH registrations submitted by UK-based manufacturers, importers and only representatives that have not gone through all the steps required to complete the registration, both by the registrant and the agency by 31 December, will not be processed further. This date marks the end of the transition period for the UK’s departure from the EU.
Six days after the US and the UK began formal negotiations for a post-Brexit bilateral trade deal on 5 May, representatives from the respective industry associations, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) jointly published some comments outlining their priorities.
“With the uncertainty swirling around Brexit and the COVID-19 crisis, a trade agreement between the UK and the USA will help ensure both countries maintain critical market access during this unprecedented and challenging time,” said Steve Elliott, chief executive of the CIA.