Importers of chemicals are controlled in a Europe-wide project
The third enforcement project co-ordinated by the Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has been launched in Finland. The project’s target is to ensure that importers and so-called only representatives of chemical manufacturers have fulfilled their registration obligations. In the enforcement project, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) will verify that importers who have imported thousand kilos of chemicals or more from outside the EU in the past year have also registered or pre-registered the substances.
The registration obligations concerning enterprises are set out in the REACH Regulation (EU) N:o 1907/2006. The objective of the enforcement project (REACH-EN-FORCE 3, REF-3) is to reinforce and improve co-operation between customs and the market surveillance authorities on the enforcement of the Regulation within Europe. In Finland, the project will be implemented in co-operation between the Customs and Tukes during 2013.
According to REACH, a substance as such or in a mixture must be registered with the European Chemicals Agency before placing it on the market within the EU and EEA territory. In terms of so-called phase-in substances, the deadlines of registration are staggered for the period between 2010 and 2018. The deadline depends on the yearly volumes of the substance and its overall hazards.
By the end of November 2010, it was necessary to register substances which were manufactured or imported in quantities reaching one thousand tonnes or more per year, substances classified as toxic to the aquatic environment imported in quantities reaching one hundred tonnes or more per year, and substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction imported in quantities reaching one tonne or more per year.
Substances imported before 1 December 2008 had to be pre-registered by 1 December 2008. If a company has imported a substance for the first time in quantities of one tonne or more per year on or after 1 December 2008, it may enjoy the possibility to submit a so-called late pre-registration depending on the volume of the imported substance. At the moment, late pre-registration is possible only for yearly volumes of less than one hundred tonnes. Higher imported volumes must be registered with the European Chemicals Agency before the import. However, the importing company must first check with the Chemicals Agency whether the same substance has already been registered. The purpose of this practice is to ensure that all necessary information about the properties of the chemicals is shared between the registrants.
A chemicals manufacturer located outside the EU may appoint an only representative established in the EU who will have the same obligations as the actual importer, i.e. the obligation to register the imported substance. According to REACH "import" means importing from countries outside the European Economic Area.
An only representative must be suitable for the task and possess sufficient experience in handling the substances in practice as well asthe related information and its application. An only representative must have up-to-date information about the imported volumes and customers to whom the substance has been delivered. A manufacturer located outside the EU must notify of the appointment of an only representative to importers of the substance in the same supply chain operating in the EU territory.
Mervi Leikoski, Senior Adviser, Tukes, tel. +358 (0)29 505 2039
Päivi Simpanen, Senior Customs Inspector, Finnish Customs, tel. +358 (0)40 332 2168