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The demand on green product and manufacturing becomes inevitable for products marketed in European countries. European market being one of the major markets of Hong Kong, the pressure on cost and technical knowledge is ever increasing to manufacturers and traders in Hong Kong. The influence of the new EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is particularly wide. It is because the regulation is not industry specific but applicable to all chemicals in raw or contain in finished products. The regulation will enter into force on June 1, 2007 and the first deadline for registration of chemicals will be on November 1, 2010. During that 42-month window, SMEs in Hong Kong need to get prepared for it or their market in EU countries can be affected.

REACH is not only a matter of laboratory testing of chemicals but rather a demand on competencies in various disciplines. Preparation for the registration requires knowledge and competence in management of chemicals, assessment of environmental impact and chemical safety, suggestion of safety measures as well as compilation of testing proposals. At this moment, these areas are beyond the knowledge set of SMEs. Current establishment can provide bits and pieces of support to SME’s but not a total solution. Without a viable and comprehensive methodology to follow and centralized resource centre to share knowledge and information, enormous time and money will be required for each individual entity to learn, establish and implement the registration process.

The mission of this project is to make the registration process for REACH cost effective and efficient in time.  Expert team composed of local and EU experts will be formed to explore and organize necessary knowledge and information for sharing with SMEs. The first stage will take 3 months to scrutinize gaps existed and based on it, necessary knowledge base for REACH will be enriched in another 6 months. Then, solution development stage will be ready in the next 12 months. The solution based on practical cases will be shared with SMEs in the final stage. Deliverables include a knowledge database for chemicals, a technical supporting centre, a free-access website, seminars and conference as well as publication. In particular, the database and technical support service will prevail the project lifetime and SMEs can continue to enjoy the service with a fee to cover the operation cost of the centre. It is believed that SMEs are able to make use of the deliverables to implement an effective system to fulfil the requirements set forth in REACH.