The European Union’s chemical rules — the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program — is the largest EU trade barrier for small and medium-sized US chemical manufacturers, according to the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).
SOCMA yesterday testified before the International Trade Commission about the disproportionate economic impact trade barriers have on SMEs exporting to the EU.
SOCMA member companies, more than 80 percent of which are SMEs, anticipated spending between $200,000 and $250,000 to register chemicals in the EU in 2010. The trade group says these numbers could increase as the 2018 deadline approaches because costs won’t be split among multiple producers.
In addition to costs for testing, hiring a representative and translating and reformatting paperwork needed to comply with REACH, other key issues impacting exports to the EU include the ability to communicate with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), transparency, and registration updates and maintenance.
SOCMA recommends improving the program by creating a small business ombudsman within ECHA and other regulatory bodies to evaluate potential impact of legislation on SMEs. In his testimony before the ITC, SOCMA also called for an increase in ECHA staff availability, where SMEs could get additional support. Additionally, the organization asked for increased transparency in nominating chemicals to various lists and enforcement across member states, as well as a follow-up with the EC’s regulatory review of REACH published in May to address challenges in advance of the 2018 deadline.
Sixty-seven percent of companies inspected do not comply with REACH requirements, according to an ECHA report published in September.