The UK intends to set up a product safety database in preparation for Brexit in order to support market surveillance and the management of product safety issues in the UK.
This programme is described as a “key issue” for EU exit. The reasons for the urgency of starting work on this are described as follows:
- “Unsafe products present serious risks to citizens, and represent unfair competition to legitimate traders;
- UK enforcing authorities are currently reliant on EU systems to exchange information on product safety risks and to receive alerts about unsafe and non-compliant products;
- Whilst ongoing data exchange with the EU about unsafe products remains subject to negotiations, we will need a new dedicated UK infrastructure to exchange secure data between enforcement authorities within the UK internal market; and
- The new database will ensure we are able to quickly identify new threats, to mount coordinated and rapid responses to those threats and to target the interception of high risk products, including imports.”
The total planned expenditure on this in 2018-2019 is £2.4m.
Work has been directed to start on this project in advance of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill receiving Royal Assent. Secondary legislation will be brought forward that will regularise the spending authority for this database after Royal Assent.
This is a significant development in terms of the UK trajectory for Brexit in the product sphere. There’s an indication that the UK will seek to remain part of RAPEX, however, this cannot be guaranteed and it is expected that this database will be used for information sharing in the UK market in any event.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-exit-preparations-beis-ministerial-direction