Advantages of a REACH Only Representative

Situation without an Only Representative

If a non-European manufacturer provides products to European based customers, every customer is considered to be an importer of that product. As such, the European customers of the non-EU manufacturer have to fulfill all duties of an importer pursuant to REACH art. 6 and 7.


Under REACH there are three different kind of products to be distinguished:


  • substances (including metals)
  • mixtures (for example, paints, lubricants), or
  • articles (for example, car tyres, furniture and clothing)


If the European customers buy substances on their own (above 1 to/year) every customer has to submit a registration to the European Chemical Agency to ensure legal access to the European market.


In case of supplying mixtures, the requirements apply to each individual substance (above 1 to/year) contained in the mixture. That means that every customer has to submit a registration for every single substance in the mixture.


In case of supplying articles to European customers, the customer needs information on the substances contained in the articles; in particular


  • are there substances intended to be released during use of the article?
  • are there any substances of very high concern in the article?
  • are there any restricted substances in articles?


In any of these cases, the customer has to submit a registration and/or notification, or has to comply with the restriction of the contained substances.


The main disadvantages of this setup:


  • the non-EU manufacturer has to disclose all relevant information (even if confidential) to his European customers
  • every single customer has comply with the obligations as an importer and bear the cost of REACH registrations

Situation after appointing an Only Representative

The non-EU manufacturer may not directly fulfill any obligations under REACH as the regulation applies only to legal entities established in the European Economic Area. However, the non-EU entity – as a manufacturer, formulator of mixtures or producer of articles – may appoint a European-based Only Representative (OR) to take over the tasks and responsibilities for complying with the regulation pursuant to REACH art. 8.


The appointed Only Representative will carry out the required registration of the substance (as such, in a mixture or in an article) that is imported into the EU. This will relieve the European customers within the supply chain from their registration obligations, as they will no longer be regarded as importers but as downstream users.

All information necessary to comply with REACH (for example the composition of mixtures or articles) is shared between the non-EU manufacturer and the Only Representative. Confidential data about the product does not need to be disclosed to the European customer.

The main advantages of this setup:


  • the European customers are released from regulatory duties
  • the total cost of supply chain is reduced as only a single registration per substance is needed
  • information on product properties and composition may be kept confidential