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REACH EU and US defense exports – the continuing saga

ROHS, WEEE and REACH regulations may be European initiatives, but their influence is far-reaching. The EU is a major importer of products produced outside the European Union which come under its environmental compliance laws. These range from agricultural chemicals to FPGA designs. Here, we address the latest developments in REACH compliance as it applies to defence.

REACH legislation governs the import and production of chemical substances within the EU. Certain products produced for the defence industry are exempt. However, exemption decisions were very much made on a national basis, and varied between member states. It became obvious to the EDA (European Defence Agency) that REACH compliance required a more harmonised approach. Creating a transparent, open European Defence Market aligning national exemption policies would considerably simplify matters for component manufacturers and other producers, not least those wishing to export into the European Union.

In March 2010, the pMS (participating Member States) of the EDA agreed a Steering Board Decision which set common standards for REACH exemptions in the defence industry. A public web portal was also established to provide transparency over national policies and procedures. The PMS are now in the process of adopting the new international standards, which will be reviewed annually starting in 2011.

In realisation of the fact that the REACH Regulation affects non-member countries of the EDA, such as the US and Canada, the Steering Board invited these “third member” states to adopt the new REACH legislation principles, further harmonising the process of supply.

The Steering Board decision is a promising development in a controversial and confusing area. We at Enventure Technologies offer a number of solutions to help you cope with the complexities of ROHS, WEEE and REACH legislation.

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