COVID-19, Brexit and UK REACH: What it Means for Your Supply Chain

With COVID-19 changing the economic and political calculations for both the EU and the UK, a no-deal Brexit seems increasingly likely. The UK officially left the EU in January of 2020 and is currently in a transition period until 2021, during which negotiations are supposed to be made and finalized. But as those discussions seem less fruitful, industries across the EU should be preparing for the likely possibility of a no-deal Brexit.


In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK will become a third-party country to the EU. This means UK companies will be subject to EU customs procedures, and vice versa.

Part of the leaving the EU means leaving the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the EU REACH regulation. In place of this, the UK is prepared to roll out UK REACH, a counterpart to EU REACH. But details on what exactly will change between the UK REACH and the EU REACH guidelines and systems are still not completely finalized, leaving many manufacturers wondering how they can best prepare.

While you may not be based in the UK, your organization will be affected if any part of your supply chain is located in the UK. There are preparations you can make now in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit.

Prepare Your Supply Chain

The first thing you should do to prepare for a no-deal Brexit is to analyze your supply chain. Understand what parts of your supply chain are located in the UK. If you are a UK company, know what EU-based companies you supply from. Make sure you are prepared to answer new regulatory questions and meet new customs requirements.

Businesses wishing to trade must also use an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number as an identification number in all customs procedures and when exchanging information with customs administrations. This will be required for trade with the EU. Having one common type of identification number across the EU is more efficient for economic operators and customs authorities as well as for statistical and security purposes.

You should apply for an EORI number if you don’t already have one, which you can do online. Companies established within the customs territory of the EU should request the assignment of the EORI number from the customs authorities of the EU country where they are established. Companies outside of the EU should request the assignment of the EORI number from the customs authorities of the EU country responsible for the place where they first lodge a declaration or apply for a decision.

Understanding your supply chain and being prepared with an EORI number will help your organization be ready for trade in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Even though Brexit is in a precarious position, your supply chain doesn’t have to experience uncertainties. Prepare now for a no-deal Brexit with support from Tetra Tech’s global compliance team.


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