Brexit - update February 2020

The Brexit transition period is likely to end by December 31 2020. There will be considerable impact. It is important to timely prepare and provide reassurance to importers and retailers in both the UK and the EU.
Jasper ten Brinke
By Jasper ten Brinke
Business Development


As of January 31 2020 Brexit is a fact. The transition period will end by December 31 2020 and the UK will not be part of the EU any longer. There is a possibility to extend this transition period by mutual agreement. In the UK approach to the negotiations presented to the UK parliament in “The Future Relationship with the EU” in February 2020, the government states that it aims for a broad outline of an agreement by June 2020 to make the end of year deadline. “If that is not sufficiently the case, the government may redirect its focus to preparations for Brexit without agreement by December 31 2020”.

Irrespective of the timings and the precise transition and post-Brexit details, it is expected that business will be allowed sufficient time to adjust to new realities. The UK authorities have communicated to allow time for notification and labelling adjustment for cosmetics companies marketing products on the UK market, be it UK or EU companies. Market enforcement by UK authorities is not expected to take place or at least expected not be very intense given the limited capacity.

(Draft) UK cosmetics regulations and their impact

The draft statutory instruments published in 2019 that amend the EU Cosmetics Regulation into (draft) UK cosmetics regulations will not significantly diverge from the current EU Cosmetics Regulations. However, there will be considerable impact for businesses. Relevant differences and items to consider are for example:

·     EU references to regulations (1223/2009), guidances, jurisdiction and entities (European Commissions, SCCS, etc.) will be replaced for references to UK equivalents
·     English will be the only language for the regulatory texts, PIF, safety assessment reports (CPSR), notification procedures and communication with the authorities
·     PIFs including CPSRs for the EU and the UK will both have to be maintained and synchronised with each other by the respective legal entities in both regions
·     The Responsible Person will have to be a UK legal entity keeping the PIF and CPSR up to date and readily available for UK authorities
·     Product notifications will have to be conducted in a UK “CPNP” portal

Timely preparation

Although there is significant uncertainty around the Brexit process, this is more regarding timings rather than the steps and actions that will be needed. It is important to timely prepare 6-12 months in advance: to sell-out existing stock; if needed to select and contract a Responsible Person for the UK, the EU or both; to redesign artwork/labelling, etc.

Starting on time will also help you to avoid ending up queuing in line at service providers, running into higher costs and extra effort to meet deadlines. We have already seen some signs of retailers requiring re-assurance and proof of regulatory compliance post Brexit.

The most relevant actions that need to be taken on short notice to prepare for after the Brexit transition period are the following:

·     All EU CPNP product notifications need to be up-to-date and compliant with current EU regulations. Once the end of transition period date comes closer the product notifications need to be transferred and notified in the UK “CPNP”. Currently, the exact technical data and document transfer possibilities are unclear
·     All PIF and CPSR documentation will need to be made available in English
·     The artwork/labelling needs to include the UK RP details for products marketed in the UK post Brexit. It is an option to already include RP details for the EU and the UK on a single product label.
·     REACH regulations: it is important to ensure that the substances used in your formulations are REACH registered with EU based REACH Only Representatives and that the raw materials used in your formulations are registered by your suppliers (or yourselves) with the respective REACH Only Representatives

Conclusion / Insight

The Brexit transition period is likely to end by December 31 2020. There will be considerable impact. It is important to timely prepare and provide reassurance to importers and retailers in both the UK and the EU.

To learn more about Brexit, the impact, how to timely prepare and our Brexit services, please contact me personally without any obligations.

Published: February 2020