On 1 September 2020, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy issued guidance on placing manufactured goods in Great Britain from 1 January 2021. This guidance focuses on when manufacturers should include the new UKCA mark and how the mark should be used.
Whilst we are sure that this guidance will be welcomed, with four months until the end of the transition period out of Brexit there is a short time frame to plan how to comply.
We have summarised below the key points from the guidance:
- the guidance focuses on placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain which extends to England, Scotland and Wales. Guidance for Northern Ireland differs and is split between placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland from Great Britain and placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland from the EU.
- different rules apply. There is different rules for goods regulated under the old approach, goods covered by national rules (non-harmonised) and certain other goods, such as medical devices and civil explosives. You will need to check which rules apply to you.
- check if you need to change your conformity assessment or marking. The UKCA mark will be the conformity assessment marking for Great Britain for most goods currently subject to CE marking, from 1 January 2021. Whilst the CE marking will be accepted in the UK until 1 January 2022 for certain products, you must be ready to use the UKCA mark from 1 January 2022. The guidance also gives further detail on using the UKCA marking, using the CE marking for the Great Britain and EU market and using both the CE and UKCA marking.
- appoint an authorised or responsible person in the UK. Authorised representatives and responsible persons based in the EU will no longer be recognised in Great Britain from 1 January 2021. Therefore, you will need a UK based authorised representative or responsible person.
- manufacturers, UK distributors and suppliers need to check if their legal responsibilities are changing. Whilst the guidance states that manufacturers legal obligations will remain largely unchanged from 1 January 2021, this is not the case for UK distributors and suppliers. You will need to confirm whether your or your supplier will become an 'importer' after 1 January 2021. You will also need to make sure that goods are labelled with the company's details, the correct conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and the goods include the correct conformity markings, the manufacturer has drawn up the correct technical documentation and complied with their labelling requirements for a period of 10 years, you maintain a copy of the declaration of conformity and goods conform with the relevant essential requirements.
There is good news for existing stock holders that hold fully manufactured and conformity marked goods. These manufactured goods can still be placed on the Great Britain market after 1 January 2021 with existing markings and notified body numbers. This means that any existing product manufactured before 31 December 2020 which is covered by a UK certificate of conformity and which would ordinarily need a UKCA marking after 1 January 2021, can still be sold in the UK with a CE marking. Given that the CE marking will be accepted in Northern Ireland indefinitely, it is possible that an extension to this may be increased.
It is worth bearing in mind that whilst it looks increasingly unlikely that a trade deal is to be agreed in the transition period, this guidance could be subject to change. Therefore, we recommend that you keep a lookout for any further developments. If you would like to know more about this topic, or for any advice, please contact Sara Stewart or your usual contact in Fieldfisher's Brand Development Team.
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