Reach registration has reduced some competitiveness – Commission

05 February 2013 15:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The introduction of Reach chemical legislation has impacted on the market concentration and pricing of some chemicals in Europe, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

According to a new report on the legislation by the Commission, published on Tuesday, the cost of Reach registration has discouraged some companies from competing in the production of certain chemicals, which may have resulted in greater market concentration. This concentration may result in increased prices for some materials, the Commission added.

“A potential positive effect is that greater specialisation amongst chemical suppliers and new business models (like chemical leasing) may increase safety,” the Commission said in the report, which can be found here.

However, the Commission added that the harmonisation of the internal EU market brought about by Reach through transparency and improved data quality has improved competitiveness within the internal EU market.

The introduction of Reach – the EU’s chemical regulation programme – has also made the use of chemicals in Europe become “considerably” safer, according to the Commission.

Since its introduction in 1 June 2007, information about chemical substances on the market has become more readily available, and has allowed better targeted risk management to reduce the dangers associated with substances registered under the legislation, the Commission added.

Companies have registered 30,601 files with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

“This report shows that Reach works. Companies are facing their responsibilities and as a result we have better data about the chemicals they produce and place on the market,” said Commission vice president Antonio Tajani.

The report notes that the increase in available information is resulting in shifts in chemical classifications to more stringent parameters, and that the obligations associated with using materials classified as substances of very high concern (SVHC) by the ECHA is leading to increasing substitution of those chemicals for safer alternatives.

The Commission added that despite improvements in the range and quality of chemical usage data in Europe, many registration dossiers by companies have been found to be non-compliant with Reach specifications. The report urges EU member states to be more pro-active in pushing for companies to comply with registration obligations.

The Commission added that it is to explore ways to reduce the financial impact of Reach compliance, particularly for smaller chemicals companies. The disproportionate impact of Reach regulations on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) relative to larger chemicals companies has been a common criticism of the legislation from industry trade bodies.

The Commission is proposing to lower registration fees for SMEs as part of these efforts.

Chemicals usage is also perceived by Europeans as safer today than it was 10 years ago, according to a Eurobarometer survey carried out by the organisation and published on Tuesday.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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