Chemical safety / REACH

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

REACH is the EU's Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation
and Restriction of Chemicals. In order to facilitate cooperation and the exchange of knowledge between the authorities in this area, an exchange of letters was signed by Switzerland and the EU in 2017.

The EU's regulation on chemical safety REACH came into force in the European Union on 1 June 2007. The acronym REACH stands for the
registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. Under this regulation, 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. The regulation also has a direct impact on the chemical industry in countries outside the EU. Swiss industry must also comply with the REACH regulations for 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, the head of the Notification Authority for chemicals of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) signed an exchange of letters, promoting cooperation between the authorities, but with no legally binding effect. 



  • Signing of a non-legally binding exchange of letters formalising  cooperation between the authorities at the technical level. (22.12.2017)


  • Decision by the Federal Council not to actively pursue the opening of negotiations with the EU. (11.09.2015)


  • Adoption by the Federal Council of a draft negotiating mandate for a bilateral agreement on chemical safety. (18.08.2010)