Chemical safety / REACH

Glass displaying chemical warning signs
Working with chemicals would be governed through REACH. © Fotolia

The regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has been in force in the EU since 1 June 2007. In September 2015, the Federal Council decided to review ways of cooperating with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Opening negotiations on a bilateral market access agreement regarding chemicals is not, however, to be actively pursued. In December 2017 an exchange of letters were signed, which should facilitate cooperation and knowledge exchange between the authorities.

Under REACH, the chemical industry is required to assess the impact of chemical substances on the environment and human health and to comply with more stringent protection requirements. Because this EU regulation also has a direct impact on the chemical industry in countries outside the EU, the Swiss chemical industry is also required to comply with REACH requirements concerning chemicals exported to the EU.

Against this backdrop, in 2010 the Federal Council adopted a draft negotiating mandate for a bilateral agreement on chemical safety (the REACH agreement) and submitted it to the cantons and to Parliament's foreign affairs committees for consultation.

Following on from these consultations, in September 2015 the Federal Council decided that entering into negotiations on a bilateral market access agreement regarding chemicals should not be pursued.

In December 2017 an exchange of letters between the head of the FOPH Notification Unit for Chemical Substances and the head of the ECHA were signed to facilitate cooperation between the authorities but are not legally binding.

Chronology

  • 22.12.2017: Signing of a non-legally binding exchange of letters to formalise technical cooperation between the authorities
  • 11.09.2015: Decision by the Federal Council not to actively pursue the opening of negotiations with the EU
  • 18.08.2010: Federal Council adopts a draft negotiation mandate for a bilateral agreement on chemical safety

Status October 2019

Additional information