Only representative

Companies based outside the EEA can appoint a European-based only representative to take over the tasks and responsibilities of importers for complying with REACH. This can simplify access to the EEA market for their products, secure the supply and reduce the responsibilities for importers.

Only representatives have to be:

  • A natural person or legal entity established physically in the EEA 
  • Equipped with sufficient knowledge in the practical handling of the substances and information related to them
  • Appointed by a mutual agreement with a manufacturer, formulator or article producer, established outside the EEA
  • Responsible for complying with the legal requirements for importers under REACH

Only representatives can represent more than one non-EEA supplier, but must keep the information related to each of them separate.

The non-EEA company has to inform the importer(s) within the same supply chain of your appointment as an only representative. These importers are then regarded as downstream users for REACH.

You are not an only representative if:

  • Your non-EEA supplier is a distributor
  • Your only role is to act as a third party representative in the data-sharing process of REACH

What do I have to do?

You have the registration obligations of an importer and additional requirements specific to your role as an only representative.


Prepare and make a registration

You have to register the substance with ECHA. There is a basic rule: no data, no market.

You must provide information about the properties and hazards of the substance, including how it can be used safely. How much information is required depends on the imported tonnage and the hazards associated with the substance. The lower the tonnage and less hazardous the substance, the less information you need to give.

You must check whether the substance has been pre-registered. If not, and it qualifies for late pre-registration, you have to register at the latest by 31 May 2018. If not, you have to register the substance before it can be placed on the EEA market.

Registration is done jointly with manufacturers and EEA importers of the same substance. It also requires sharing the data needed for registration with them.

What the non-EEA company and you have to do is explained in the Guidance on Registration and the web pages for non-EU manufacturers.

The specific requirements for you in addition to those of importers are to:

  • Provide the information to importers (now downstream users) so that they can compile safety data sheets and keep records on the supply of the latest updates of safety data sheets in the course of your continued activity
  • Prepare and keep up-to-date an inventory of importers and the tonnage imported by each of them. Provide it to the enforcement authorities upon request


Take action for substances of very high concern

If a substance has been identified as being of very high concern and included in the Candidate List for REACH Authorisation, this will trigger additional obligations for the EEA importers and for you.

  • For a substance imported on its own or in a mixture, an update of the existing safety data sheet is required. As an only representative (whether you are the actual supplier or not) you have a duty to keep records of the supply of the updated safety data sheet
  • For a substance contained in an imported article, you may have an obligation under certain conditions, to notify ECHA within six months of its import


Clarify your role in authorisation

When you represent a non-EEA company and one of their substances is on the list of substances requiring authorisation, you must inform the company about the consequences for their product.

If there are no generic or specific exceptions from the REACH authorisation procedure, the non-EEA company will have to decide whether to stop exporting the substance into the EEA market or to apply for authorisation. If the non-EEA company decides to apply for authorisation, you can be appointed to act on their behalf.


Comply with restrictions

If the risks for human health and the environment caused by a substance cannot be controlled, it may be restricted in the EEA.

This can mean:

  • A total ban
  • A restriction of marketing and specific uses, or
  • A limitation of the concentration of the substance in mixtures or in articles

Examples include the ban on asbestos, restrictions on the marketing and use of lead in jewellery and a limit on the concentration of hexavalent chromium in leather products.

You should inform the non-EEA company of a new restriction and the consequences for their product. It is also your duty to keep records (whether you are the actual supplier or not) of the supply of an updated safety data sheet including information on the new restriction.

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