Impacts of Brexit on companies

With the UK's withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, a transition period will begin until the end of 2020. During the transition period, the current rules will continue to be in place as if the UK were still a member of the EU. The EU and the UK will negotiate their future relationship during 2020. Due to the tight negotiation schedule, some sectors may fall outside the scope of the agreement starting on 1 January 2021. Businesses in particular should be prepared for this possibility.

On this website, we will gather information on the impacts that UK’s exit may have on the operations of companies. We will update the information when new details are available.

Companies must investigate matters and acquire information on the requirements that third-country products must fulfil before they can be imported in the EU’s internal markets.

Chemicals

The impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on companies will depend on their role in the delivery chain pursuant to the chemical legislation. This may have significant impacts on some of the companies. When a company operating in the UK becomes a non-EU company, the role of distributors and downstream users in the delivery chain will change so that in many cases they will become importers in the EU.

In order for UK-based suppliers to be able to continue marketing their REACH-registered substances in the EU after Brexit, they must either relocate to an EU/EEA country or transfer their registration to a so-called only representative based in one of the EU/EEA Member States. Otherwise, each importer of substances from the UK to the EU must register the substances with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) themselves.

Substances that require REACH authorisation can no longer be used on the basis of authorisations granted to UK-based suppliers after Brexit. These substances can only be used on the basis of authorisations granted to suppliers based in EU/EEA Member States, or the user will need to apply for authorisation themselves. Authorisations are granted by the ECHA.

A list of substances that are currently only registered to UK-based suppliers can be found here and a list of REACH authorisation decisions showing authorised suppliers here.

Chemical safety data sheets and product labels must show the details of the supplier, and the supplier must be based in the EU.

For further information on the impacts of the UK’s withdrawal on the obligations of the REACH, CLP and biocide regulations, see ECHA’s website.

Alternatively, you can contact the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency’s helpdesk for advice.

Cosmetics

The impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on companies depends on their roles as actors pursuant to the cosmetics regulation. This may have considerable impacts on some of the companies.

From the withdrawal date onwards (note possible transitional period):

The responsible person cannot be established in the UK. As a result, a distributor established in the EU area will become an EU importer and, at the same time, a person responsible for the product they have imported in the EU area from the UK if no specific measures are introduced.

  • The new responsible person can also appoint some other actor in the EU area to act as the responsible person on their behalf.
  • The new responsible person for a cosmetic product must register such products with the CPNP database. The current responsible person can transfer registrations performed before the withdrawal date to the future responsible person in the CPNP system. Responsible persons situated in the UK will not have access to the CPNP database after the withdrawal date.
  • Production information (PIF, product information file) must be available in the address of a responsible person situated in the EU area to the authority of the Member State in which the product information is kept and in the language that the Member State’s competent authorities can easily understand. Product information kept in Finland can be in Finnish, Swedish or English.
  • Labelling must contain the name and address of the new responsible person as well as the country of origin of the cosmetics product.

For further information on the impacts of the UK’s withdrawal on the obligations of the EU’s cosmetic regulation, click this link.

Products

The role of the company can change from a distributor to an importer. In Brexit, Great Britain will become a non-EU country, and if the company imports products from there in markets in the EU area, it will be considered an importer as of the withdrawal date. The obligations of an importer differ from those of a distributor.

In some product areas (e.g. personal protective equipment and gas equipment), the EU legislation requires that a competent third party, i.e. a Notified Body, participates in the compliance assessment procedure. Notified Bodies in Great Britain will lose their status as Notified Bodies within the EU as of the withdrawal date. They will be removed from the information system containing a list of Notified Bodies (NANDO database), which is maintained by the Commission.

If the company imports a product in the EU markets after the exit date whose compliance assessment procedure requires or allows for third-party involvement, the product must have a certificate from a body that is the EU’s Notified Body at the time of import. Brexit will not affect products that have been imported in the markets before the exit date.

Plant protection products

If the holder of an authorisation for a plant protection product comes from the UK, the mutual recognition of the product shall remain in force as long as the authorisation is valid.

An authorisation for a parallel product shall remain in force until Brexit becomes effective. For more information on the impact of the UK’s withdrawal on the obligations laid down in the EU Regulation on Plant Protection Products, visit the EU Commission’s website.