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Brexit: UK further simplifies the transition to ‘UKCA’ certification

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United Kingdom

On 20 June 2022. the UK government announced it would be changing the requirements for replacing CE with UKCA certification and marking of goods, in order to reduce the impact on businesses.[i]

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking must be used from 1 January 2023 for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (‘GB’ - England, Wales and Scotland), covering most goods which previously required the CE marking.[i] As a transitional arrangement, businesses may continue to use the CE marking until 1 January 2023 for most goods for which GB and EU rules remain the same.[ii]

The recently announced changes to the requirements are as follows:

  • Reducing re-testing costs: any conformity assessment activities completed by non-UK  conformity assessment bodies before the end of 2022 may be used by manufacturers to declare existing product types as compliant with UKCA without the need for re-testing. Products must still bear UKCA marking and will need to undergo conformity assessment with a UK Approved Body at the expiry of the certificate or after 5 years (31 December 2027), whichever is sooner. It is recommend that manufacturers include in the UK Declaration of Conformity the list of relevant UK designated standards and equivalent EU harmonised standards that apply to their product, as well as details of the EU conformity assessment bodies (or bodies recognised under an EU Mutual Recognition Agreement) which carried out the conformity assessment;    
 
  • Removing the need to re-test existing imported stock: fully manufactured and conformity assessed CE-marked products which have been imported into GB under contract before 31 December 2022 will be considered as ‘placed on the GB market’ and will not need to undergo re-testing and re-certification to UKCA requirements. However, the products should still be checked to ensure they meet the requirements of EU law before they are further supplied and a record should be kept of documentation which demonstrates the product was imported into GB under contract before 1 January 2023. But when products are imported into GB for further manufacture or processing, they are not considered ‘placed on the market’; the GB manufacturer of the finished product has the responsibility for ensuring it is UKCA compliant before placing it on the GB market from 1 January 2023;
 
  • Continuing to accept spare parts onto the GB market: the UK will continue to accept spares onto the GB market which comply with the same requirements that were in place at the time the original products or systems they are ultimately intended to repair, replace or maintain were placed on the market. Products which are repaired, refurbished or exchanged without changing their original performance, purpose, or type, are not considered new and therefore do not need to be recertified and remarked. This includes if the product is temporarily exported for repair, as the product is not being placed on the GB market for the first time when re-imported;
 
  • Extending labelling measures: businesses may affix the UKCA marking, and include importer information for products from EEA countries (and in some cases Switzerland), using a sticky label or an accompanying document until 31 December 2025 (instead of in most cases having to place it on the product itself or the packaging);
 
  • Recognising historic testing on some construction products: manufacturers of construction products under the AVCP system 3 (Assessment and Verification of Constancy of Performance) – such as radiators, sealants and tile adhesives – whose products are tested by an EU notified body before 1 January 2023 will be able to obtain a UKCA mark without having to retest through a UK-approved body;
 
  • these changes do not apply to: medical devices, construction products, cableways, unmanned aircraft systems, transportable pressure equipment, rail products and marine equipment, for which there will be sector-specific arrangements; and
 
  • these changes do not apply in Northern Ireland: the UKCA marking cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, where EU conformity markings such as the CE marking will continue to be used. Manufacturers using a UK body to carry out mandatory third-party conformity assessment, need to apply a UKNI marking as well as the CE marking (such goods cannot be placed on the market in the EU). Northern Ireland businesses may continue to place most qualifying Northern Ireland goods on the GB market with an EU conformity assessment marking, such as the CE marking, from 1 January 2023.[iii]

These easements have been announced by the government in the light of consultations with industry in order to reduce the costs and administrative impact of the new UKCA certification and labelling requirements. However, the main obligation – to use UKCA certification and marking from 1 January 2023 for most goods placed on the GB market – remains unchanged.

Fieldfisher's London International Trade Team can help you understand the impact of these changes on your business and help to manage your supply chains.


[i] News story on GOV.UK
[i] Official guidance: Using the UKCA marking

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