22 December 2020
The “CE” mark is the EU conformity marking that indicates that products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA) conform to agreed health, safety and environmental protection standards.
In brief, the marking verifies that the manufacturer has checked a product to ensure it meets current EU standards and regulations. This also applies to third countries who market goods in the EU. Therefore, the CE mark does not mean that products are made in the EEA, only that they conform to the requirements and standards set by the EU.
The Withdrawal Agreement signed between the UK and EU, in 2019, confirmed that any products which have already proven to be acceptable for CE marking and placed on the market in the EEA before the 31st December 2020 will not be affected by Brexit. As a result, they can continue to be marketed in both in the UK and the EU.
However, unless a trade deal specifies otherwise, the labelling of new products for the UK market will change from the 1st January 2021, when the Brexit transition period ends.
This is due to the fact that, the UK will no longer be part of the EU’s regulatory framework and UK Notified bodies, conformity assessment companies, will no longer be recognised in EU law and therefore, they will not be permitted to assess or certify whether products meet EU standards.
As a result, the UK Government has set up a new conformity assessment system to ensure goods placed on the UK market meet our own standards. This new UK Conformity Assessed standard will adopt the new conformity mark “UKCA” and will cover almost all goods previously approved for CE marking.
The new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking for use in the UK single market:
Conversely any products intended for the EU market after the 31st December 2020 will now need to be re-evaluated by one of the remaining member states’, notified bodies, if required, to achieve a CE marking.
It should be noted though that products, already in the EU single market can continue to be marketed in the UK after the 31st December 2020 and products authorised to meet CE standards can still be placed in the UK market for one more year, up to 31st December 2021 by virtue of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The only other major difference concerns Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Protocol comes into force in 1st January 2021 and from this date Northern Ireland will continue to be aligned with all EU rules, related to placing manufactured products in the EU single market.
A new UKNI conformity assessment marking comes into force on the 1sty January 2021, which will confirm that be applied to products placed in the market in Northern Ireland that have passed a conformity assessment undertaken by a notified body based in the UK.
In addition, as Northern Ireland will continue to be aligned with EU rules, the CE UKNI mark can must also be used for products being marketed in Northern Ireland. The UKNI marking should never appear on its own, it should always accompany the EU conformity marking.
However, as the UKNI mark will only be recognised by the UK government, the UKNI mark should not be used on products marketed in the EEA.
The UKNI mark should only be used alongside a CE mark in Northern Ireland, although dual UKNI/CE marking will be recognised in the rest of GB.
The new UKNI marking:
Further business advice on leaving the EU: the law from January 2021 can be obtained from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Business Companion website:
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