UK issues new Brexit guidance on manufactured goods

Out-Law News | 07 Sep 2020 | 12:02 pm | 2 min. read

The UK government has issued new guidance for manufacturers, distributors and assessment bodies on placing manufactured goods on the UK and EU market at the end of the Brexit transition period.

The guidance covers conformity assessment for manufactured goods including toys, electrical and electronic equipment, and personal protective equipment; the use of the new UK Conformity Assessed mark; and how to place goods on the market in either Great Britain or the EU from 1 January 2021.

Product safety law expert Simon Tingle of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said further clarity was welcome but further guidance was likely to be forthcoming and the position could still change in the event of a trade deal between the UK and EU.

However, Tingle said businesses should consider a number of key changes to ensure they are in a position to comply with the new rules regime which is set to apply from the start of next year.

The obligations for manufacturers will remain broadly the same as at present, but UK-based distributors and suppliers will become 'importers' where they are bringing goods from outside the UK and placing them on the UK market.

Meanwhile, EU-based distributors and suppliers will become importers if they are bringing goods from outside the EU and placing them on the EU market.

Importers are subject to additional obligations and will need to show their name and address on product packaging. Until 31 December 2022, this information can be provided on accompanying documentation.

To sell goods in the EU, products will still have to carry a CE mark to show they meet EU requirements and comply with EU legislation.

The UKCA marking will be required from 1 January 2021 for products to be sold in Great Britain, where the legislation requires mandatory conformity assessment, marking and the conformity assessment has been carried out by a UK conformity assessment body. The UKCA marking cannot be used alone for goods placed on the market in Northern Ireland, which will require CE marking or UK (NI) Marking.

It will still be possible to use the CE mark for some goods sold in Great Britain until 31 December 2021, provided the CE mark is currently applied to the goods on the basis of self-declaration, any mandatory third-party assessment was carried out by an EU-recognised notified body, and the certificate of conformity has been transferred to an EU-recognised notified body.

Most conformity assessment bodies will have their status automatically converted under a new domestic legal framework that will be in place from 1 January 2021, with the technical requirements for becoming a UK-approved body broadly similar to current requirements.

The government said EU notified bodies will be required to share information with UK approved bodies when requested by a certificate holder, and UK approved bodies should do the same with EU notified bodies. Under this process new certificates of conformity, where needed, can be issued without the need to repeat the entire certification process.

From 1 January 2021 any mandatory third-party conformity assessment for the EU market will need to be carried out by an EU-recognised conformity assessment body. UK conformity assessment bodies will no longer be able to do this for products being placed on the EU market unless this is subsequently agreed in negotiations.