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British chemical industry warns of billions to clone EU regime


The conical flasks of the Cornelius Group Chemical Plant in Suffolk are the size of a space hopper, and each of the company’s chief executives, Neville Prior, is too secret to reveal the secret.

The chemicals used to make contact lenses are highly volatile, but for Prior, the effect of Brexit in January of next year bureaucratically affects the industry, waking up at night.

As of January 1st, the safety registration of chemicals used by Mr Prior to create his products held in the Rich Registration Database currently operated by the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) in Helsinki requires re-registration as new UK products.

In order to achieve 200 Cornellus Group sales and about 50 million pounds of revenue per year, Prior said that registering about 2,000 chemicals within a two-year government deadline meant an inexpensive bureaucratic marathon.

Neville Prior:’The real problem is how to obtain registration data according to commercial contracts’ © Charlie Bibby / FT

It may take up to £300,000 to register a single chemical in the new British Rich Database, if the company needs to purchase an “access letter” to use Echa’s vast test data bank. party. Nevertheless, additional testing may be required.

The chief executive of the Chemical Industry Association, Steve Elliott, said the new system would add more than a billion pounds to the company to replicate existing registrations if it did not sign a data sharing agreement with Brussels.

To address more complex problems, Prior, like other small business owners, has yet to see the computer software that the Health and Safety Bureau will use to collect new UK registrations.

“The real question is how do we get the registration data held by the commercial contract,” he said. “It’s unclear and we’re getting closer to the time Brexit will happen.”

The decision to make an expensive copy of the EU Rich Database came from a decision that excluded Prime Minister Boris Johnson from finding an associate member of Echa as part of his “clean rest” Brexit.

After the Brexit transition period, the cost of replicating the existing EU standard system is not limited to the chemical industry. Manufacturers have warned of the cost of the new UK conformity assessment quality standard, which has been evaluated by the British Minister that it will replace the existing CE mark from next year.

Rebecca Pow, Minister of Environment and Food and Rural Affairs, who oversees this policy, in a letter to the House of Representatives in May admitted that there would be “significant costs and burdens to the industry” as it adhered to UK reach. The benefits of controlling your laws are more important than your costs.”

That’s not the view shared by Dani Loughran, managing director of Aston Chemicals in Aylesbury, another small and medium-sized company that imports and distributes chemicals used by the world’s leading cosmetic brands.

Aston sells about thousands of products, many of which require new UK registrations, and companies and suppliers may need to commission new tests to replicate Echa data.

The basic cost of registering each chemical without the need for a new test is around 5,000 pounds, and the additional cost of the “access letter” can range from 33,000 pounds for softeners used in face creams to 150,000 pounds for shea. Butter used as the basis for sunscreen. In some cases, the letter of access approaches almost 300,000 pounds.

Registering a single chemical in the new UK rich database can cost up to £300,000 for companies like Cornelius. © Charlie Bibby / FT

“Our EU competitors are licking lips,” said Loughran. “We haven’t grown anything in 30 years, but now all these barriers are being forced on us.

“It’s incredibly wasteful and uncompetitive for UK companies like us to spend time, money and resources to repeat all of these registrations in order not to give any additional benefits to other registrants.”

Loughran and Prior also suspected that Richie, England would have bureaucratic bandwidth to manage the new process. Echa employs 600 employees with an annual budget of 110 million euros, and spends 13 million pounds per year on the UK version budget, including up to 50 employees.

Reducing the UK company’s new registration fee by up to 80%, according to Peter Newport, president of the Chemical Company’s Association of British Companies, is an approach letter by a British negotiator brokering a data sharing agreement between Echa and British authorities.

“Basically, the EU has a pantry in Helsinki and is now trying to fill this data in a new pantry in the UK,” said Newport.

He added that the risk of making some chemicals commercially unusable in the UK market, affecting supply chains and UK jobs at the expense of UK registration, has spread across the industry.

Requests for data sharing agreements are supported by the European Chemical Industry Council and the Chemical Industry Association. However, EU officials are cautious about the prospects for such a deal.

The draft agreement in the UK is about to enter into a data sharing agreement by the end of 2021, but in a letter to MPs admitted that “it can be difficult for companies to get the data they need”.

Defra added: “Law is already in place to ensure that existing EU Reach registrations held by UK businesses are carried over and we are still looking into further support methods during this period.”

The sector is concerned that the cost of registration will pose a risk of making some chemicals commercially unavailable in the UK market. © Charlie Bibby / FT

However, there remains a need to register with the UK Reach, which has 10 small factories in the UK and is also a burden for large companies like the German chemical company BASF, which employs about 100 each.

Geoff Mackey, Corporate Head of Business at BASF, calculated that there are about 1,200 substances to register and the total cost is between about 60 million to 70 million pounds. Protect in any way”.

Businesses like BASF, even the Cornelius Group, should be able to absorb and adapt costs, but Newport may not survive the regulatory storm.

“We are very concerned. “Both global and fan EU companies can survive in this situation, but many small and small companies that have already been exhausted by Covid-19 may not be so good.”

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