What the Brexit Extension Means for Businesses

What the Brexit Extension Means for Businesses

The Extension

On October 28, 2019, the UK formally asked for and accepted a three-month extension to the European Union (EU) departure date and is now set to leave no later than January 31, 2020. Prior to this extension, the departure date had been set for October 31, 2019, which was itself an extension from a departure date earlier in the year.

With no deal agreed upon by the members of the UK Parliament, however, the government had no option but to request a new date to leave.

The approved extension and earlier tentative deal between the UK and EU does make the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit less likely, but many questions remain for businesses in Europe regarding their regulatory requirements.

What Does an Extension Mean for Businesses?

The extension in and of itself does not change the realities of Brexit for businesses in the UK or EU. All previously established sunset dates associated with authorized use cases under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation will remain in place. Earlier in 2019, the UK announced their own version of the REACH Regulation that aligns with existing EU rules in the event of a no-deal exit.

A proposed deal between the current UK government and the EU would see the UK mirror all established EU rules until the end of December 2020, as the two parties negotiate their longer-term future and relationship. This period of alignment can be extended by one to two years. Under this agreement, the UK would abide by EU rules, but lose membership status and, with it, the ability to influence future EU legislation.

What Are the Next Steps?

There is still much uncertainty for businesses in Europe. While the current regulatory landscape will likely remain relatively stable until the end of 2020, UK companies must prepare to submit substance and product information to UK REACH IT systems. Substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that have received sunset dates under the REACH Regulation will receive an 18-month extension past the UK’s final day in the EU. This allows companies to submit authorization requests to maintain uninterrupted production while the REACH systems are established. Companies must apply for UK authorization before exit day, with the sunset dates coming into effect on July 31, 2021.

The European Commission issued a “Brexit Preparedness Checklist” in September to provide guidance to companies planning for the UK’s departure.

How Assent Helps You Prepare

The UK’s exit from the EU has a drastic impact on companies operating in or selling into Europe. Companies must revisit their product compliance and trade classification programs in order to properly assess the new regulatory landscape and mitigate potential risks. The Assent Compliance Platform offers a best-in-class solution, providing transparency and traceability in the supply chain for enhanced risk identification. To learn more, contact us at info@assentcompliance.com.