The Inspectorate for the Dutch Environment Ministry has issued an advisory that it will require information about the (pre-) registration of substances or preparations being imported into the Netherlands as part of REACH enforcement. There are also rumours that the Belgian authorities are requiring similar documentation for shipments arriving by sea from outside the European Union. McDermott Will & Emery considers these developments to be early signs that Member States are prepared to prevent shipments from entering their territories as part of their REACH enforcement regimes.
The REACH Regulation requires all manufacturers and importers of chemicals to submit proof, by means of a registration dossier, that they have identified and are able to manage the risks linked to the substances or preparations that they manufacture and market. The Regulation requires that these companies pre-register phase-in substances, but does not stipulate expressly that they must provide evidence of pre-registration in their dealings with customs.
Non-EU manufacturers and EU importers of substances or preparations should prepare for the likelihood that some Member States will impose controls at the point of entry from outside the European Union. It would therefore appear prudent to have adequate documentation available for inspection on demand by customs and inspection authorities. Indeed, some customs agents are asking for proof of REACH compliance when handling imports of chemicals and substances.