According to the registration procedures document, which was published in the Official Journal, fees were agreed by a Committee of Member State representatives back in December and have been set according to a sliding scale. The means that registration fees will begin at €1,600 for substances produced in volumes of less than ten tonnes and increase incrementally to a fee of €31,000 for substances produced in volumes greater than 1,000 tonnes. The sliding scale means that medium-sized enterprises will have reductions of 30 per cent, small enterprises a 60 per cent reduction and micro enterprises will have a 90 per cent reduction. All the fees and the accompanying charges are due to be reviewed by 2013, at the latest. The EC document also outlines that there will be discounts of 25 per cent for firms that co-operate together on registrations. Registration organised by the ECHA Registration is arranged through the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), based in Helsinki, and the relevant fees are also payable to the organisation. The main fees for registration include the submission and updating of registration dossiers, as well as authorisation requests or review reports. The EC says that other fees will be payable for notification of certain research and development activities, confidentiality requests and for appealing against decisions made by the ECHA. Commission vice-president Günter Verheugen stressed that the fees had been designed to ensure that smaller companies were not penalized, in turn affecting their ability to remain competitive. "We have set the foundations for a modern registration scheme which protects human health and the environment," he said. Opportunity for staggered registration fees With the start of registration set for June 1st this year, companies can also benefit from staggered registration fees until 2018 if they complete the process before 1 December, 2008. The EU law REACH - Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals - will see some 30,000 chemicals being tested and reviewed by the ECHA with the aim of banning those that pose a significant health threat and finding safer substitutes. As a result of the law, big business, downstream users and the cosmetics industry will all be expected to carry the onus on the safety status of the chemicals they use. Although it will be European companies that will be primarily hit by these regulations, global players, including many of the bigger names in the US, will also have to take careful note if they want to maintain their share of the pie by complying.