Update on BREXIT – Eurofins E&E UK

The overwhelming parliamentary majority achieved by Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party in the December 2019 UK General Election was followed closely by the successful passage of the EU Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament. This means that the UK will leave the EU on 31st January 2020.

The Withdrawal Agreement comes with a transition – also known as an implementation – period which initially lasts until 31st December 2020 but can be extended by mutual agreement between the EU and UK.  During this period much of the existing EU legislation, including that underpinning CE Marking, will still apply in the UK and effectively very little changes:

  • Existing EU Directives and CE Marking continue to apply to products placed on the UK market
  • EU appointed Notified Bodies in the UK can continue to operate as before
  • The Economic Operator relationships remain unchanged.  For example, a UK manufacturer placing products on the EU-27 market can continue to do so using a distributor as opposed to an importer
  • Manufacturers placing products onto the UK market may use the UKCA mark (although it has no regulatory meaning) in addition to the CE Marking as long as it is not affixed in a way that may mislead

During the transition period, the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU should become clearer as a deal is negotiated, although it is still possible that the outcome is a ‘No-Deal’ where agreement cannot be reached.

Assuming that a deal is reached, this will include details on the future regulatory alignment between the UK and EU.  The likely result is that it will no longer be possible to legally place products on the UK market by affixing the CE Mark.  Firstly, it is trademarked by the EU and secondly, the UK Government has hinted that it favours the option of regulatory divergence.  This means that EU and UK regulations could be different in the future and therefore the UKCA Mark would be used to signify that products placed on the UK market had met UK Regulations.

Following the end of the transitional arrangements, UK manufacturers placing products on the EU-27 market will continue to use CE Marking but the Economic Operator relationship will change.  As a ‘third-country’, manufacturers based in the UK will need to use the services of an importer located in the EU-27.  This brings a significantly enhanced level of scrutiny as to the appropriateness of measures taken to demonstrate compliance with the relevant EU Directives.

As ever, this is the best understanding of the situation at the time of writing.  We will continue to closely track developments to keep staff and customers informed.

Nick Wainwright

Managing Director E&E UK

17th January 2020