Trading within the UK and between the UK and Europe just got a lot more complicated
Despite the trade deal between the UK and the EU being hailed as a major success for both sides, the main benefits of the agreement focus on the elimination of trading tariffs and the equalisation of customs rules. So far as the single market (and hence the rules for CE marking) are concerned, the UK is now split up into two parts: Northern Ireland remains within the single market while Great Britain (i.e. Scotland, Wales and England) leaves the single market and is free to set its own rules.
This is what we know so far:
- From 1 January 2021, the UKCA mark will start to replace the CE mark for goods sold within Great Britain.
- The CE mark will continue to be required for goods sold in Northern Ireland.
- Units already in the supply chain at the time the new rules come into effect can continue to be sold under the old rules.
- For most CE marked goods there will be a one year transition period commencing on 1 January 2021, during which time the CE marking will continue to be acceptable as an alternative to the UKCA mark for goods sold in Great Britain.
- Some goods (e.g. certain medical devices) will have an extended transtion period up to 2023.
- For all other goods, the UKCA mark will become mandatory at the end of 2021.
- Products will be able to display both the UKCA mark and the CE logo unless and until the rules for those products diverge between the UK and EU.
- It’s not expected that any divergence will happen in the near future.
- Products which require third party (i.e Notified Body) involvement as part of their CE marking process will have to use a UK Approved Body instead of (or as well as) an EU Notified Body – see below for more details.
- Manufacturers based within Great Britain will need to identify a representative based within the EU whose name and address can go on the product as a contact point for the Market Surveillance Authorities.
- Manufacturers based outside the UK and selling in the UK will need a UK based representative.