REACH impact assessment battle rages on

Twelve major industrial sectors have joined forces in their
objections to the EU’s draft chemicals legislation over
competitiveness concerns. The trade and retail sectors have raised
similar doubts in a new impact study.

Twelve major industries from the manufacturing sector have
joined forces in asking that their raw materials and products
be excluded from the EU’s draft chemicals regulation,
REACH. 

The association – known as the REACH Alliance –
represents companies in the areas of ceramics, glass, gypsum,
iron & steel, lime, minerals, non-ferrous metals, ores, paper,
and pre-cast and ready-mixed concrete.

In a statement on Wednesday 20 October, the twelve
said REACH would have “significant consequences” for their
industries as the raw materials they use would be subject
to registration under the draft regulation. As a
consequence, their products and preparations would also fall under
the regulation, which the alliance said would
“seriously affect their competitiveness”.

It further pointed out that, other raw materials
sectors such as gas, coal and crude oil, are not subject to
registration under REACH. Industries, the alliance argues, “should
receive the same treatment and not be at a competitive
disadvantage” with others using different raw materials. 

In a separate move, EuroCommerce published a new study on 20
October analysing the impact of REACH on the retail, wholesale and
trade sectors. Prepared by consultants Risk & Policy Analysts,
the study indicates that the most significant impacts of REACH are
the “requirements for registration or notification of substances”
imported from outside the EU. According to the study, the “total
direct costs to the commerce sector of REACH are between €850
million and €960 million”. However, it points out that this figure
is “subject to uncertainty”.

Basing itself on the study, EuroCommerce argues REACH will
“challenge” supply chain management by asking information on each
substance to be provided individually. In a position paper, it
proposed a series of amendments relating mainly to imports. It
argued the draft legislation “might constitute discriminatory
treatment” since the importer has to register all the different
substances contained in preparations, which could de facto
constitute a barrier to trade.

A working group set up by the Commission is expected to
submit a definitive impact assessment study by the end of
2004.

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