On 2 February, the UK Government announced that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, there are plans to replace the CE mark with the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark.
The new guidance page indicates that “in the majority of cases” a CE mark will be sufficient if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, but “in some cases” the new UKCA mark will applied. For example, if a UK Conformity Assessment body carried out a conformity assessment for a product, that product will now need to be marked with the UKCA in order to be sold on the UK market unless an EU27 approved body has issued a new certificate or otherwise taken over responsibility for the certificate through a contractual arrangement between the manufacturer, the UK Notified Body and the EU-27 Notified Body.
Interestingly, the guidance page says that “most, but not all, products” currently within the CE marking regime will be within the scope of the UKCA. This will, presumably, be determined when new UK laws or statutory instruments are passed to replace their EU equivalents.
Of course, the CE mark will still be required for any goods headed for the EU market.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK is also proposing to unilaterally recognise the CE mark for some time. However, it’s not yet sure how long that will be. The guidance page suggests that industry will be consulted and notice will be provided “before ending this time-limited period”.
The EU has not suggested that it will unilaterally recognise the proposed new UKCA mark.
A BSI spokesperson has nodded to the possibility of diverging regulations at some point: “It provides flexibility for government should there be divergence of regulations to insist that manufacturers were committing to that UK regulatory practice in future”. Of course, with this flexibility comes added responsibilities for UK manufacturers who want to sell into the EU (and vice versa). In the expensive real estate of product packaging, the reality of using a CE and UKCA mark may take some getting used to.
There’s also an important timing implication here – in the absence of a transition period if there is a no deal Brexit, product manufacturers will need to be thinking about lead times for required changes now. This additional mark will mean additional cost, particularly if combined with diverging requirements in the future.
If the deal is passed and we move to a transition period, the UKCA mark will likely remain on the cards unless the future trading arrangements involve maintaining the CE marking regimes and an agreement that products can be CE marked (and will be recognised as such) on both sides of the channel going forward.
The guidance page gives the promise of additional guidance regarding the UKCA mark shortly. We will update further when more information is available.
In the meantime, the government recommends that you email email@example.com if you have queries or need further assistance regarding the UKCA mark.
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