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:
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
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 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: