Zanos have spent more than half a million pounds over the past decade making sure that we comply with the necessary EU regulations to import and supply aroma ingredients into EU member states from all over the world.
The common regulations throughout the EU and trading areas like the Customs Union help us to seamlessly import and export fragrance ingredients and aroma chemicals throughout the European Union.
But as the Brexit negotiations go on, it seems uncertain that the UK will still have access to this common market beyond any agreed transition period.
With many customers on the continent, Zanos are taking steps to make sure we can continue to supply EU member states with imported aroma ingredients, even after the UK ceases to be a member state.
To do this, we are moving around a third of our business to elsewhere in the EU, future-proofing supplies no matter what is agreed in the final Brexit deal, if there even is one.
Zanos director Julian Sarkar explained the situation to Reuters in late March – and why the decision to leave the EU and the continued uncertainty over the final Brexit deal has cost the chemicals industry time and money.
He said: “I despair. Everything I’ve seen in terms of the new approach will involve additional cost and additional work.
“We buy significant materials from China that are sold in Europe. The intention is that anything that doesn’t require UK input will not come here. We’ll just keep it out.”
For now, that means setting up a presence in the EU, allowing us to supply EU customers directly from an EU member state and avoiding extra costs and delays associated with moving goods through UK customs after Brexit.
This of course requires a certain level of investment and additional adminsitration, but we are compelled to take action to avoid possible interruption of business.
At present there are over 18,000 chemicals registered under the EU REACH regulation for the ‘Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals’.
Of these, around a third are registered in the UK. It is a key market for the supply of all kinds of chemicals, and for their consumption too, and it would be ideal if the UK continues to comply with REACH even after Brexit, to make it easier to trade across the UK-EU border without added red tape.
But as Julian told Reuters: “We’ve had zero information. We’ve been told by the government this is where we are and this is where we would like to be. But the question is: what are they going to do?”
As time goes on post-Brexit, UK and EU regulations are likely to continue to diverge, making it less likely that cross-border trade will remain as seamless as it has been during the UK’s EU membership.
By creating a base in the remaining EU post-Brexit, Zanos are taking steps now to avoid unnecessary costs and delays in the years to come – allowing us to continue serving our UK and EU customers alike with aroma ingredients imported from all over the world.