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BREXIT Latest news | Impact on regulations and product compliance

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

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BREXIT Latest news | Impact on regulations and product compliance

By Nick Wainwright, Managing Director of Eurofins E&E UK
In representation and on behalf of Eurofins Consumer Product Testing

 

Implications for UK industry and how it might be impacted

 

As you will be well aware BREXIT continues to dominate the news agenda and will do so for the foreseeable future. Quite rightly, questions have been raised about the implications for industry in the UK and further afield. 

We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what we believe to be the current state of affairs.

The recently signed Withdrawal Agreement provides more clarity than has previously been available on what BREXIT might look like, assuming that it gets the blessing of Parliament in January 2019. The Withdrawal Agreement includes the provision of a transition period and, if passed, will mean the UK’s customs rules and regulations remaining the same as the EU’s until the end of 2020.

During the transition period, therefore, CE Marking will continue to be applicable in the UK, the operation of UK based Notified Bodies can continue as before, and the various EU Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) such as those with the US, Canada and South Korea can also continue.

For the short term at least and, assuming that the Withdrawal Agreement successfully makes its way through Parliament, it will essentially be business as usual.

Beyond the transition period – which could be extended – the situation is less clear. On the one hand, the ‘Common Rulebook’ contained in the Withdrawal Agreement suggests that for goods, the UK and EU will remain aligned on many regulations, whilst on the other, one of the fundamental principles of BREXIT is to facilitate UK regulations diverging from those of the EU.

Clearly, if regulations were to diverge, then an alternative to CE Marking would be required in the UK. The vote, when it happens, will give us all a good indication of the likely outcome.

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal then there will be more immediate consequences.  Manufacturers placing goods on the UK market – whether internally or externally – will no longer be able to use CE Marking and as part of its contingency planning, The UK Government has consulted on the design of a UK Mark to replace it.

In practice, it is likely that there would be some form of transition period.

Additionally, European Notified Bodies would cease to operate in the UK and would be replaced by UK Designated Bodies which would essentially perform the same function for the new UK regulations.
 
Testing carried out under EU MRAs could not continue and UK manufacturers placing products on the EU market would be classed as ‘third countries’ and need to have an arrangement with an importer based in the EU.  Importers currently based in the UK for the purposes of placing products on the EU market would cease to be able to provide that function after the UK leaves the EU.

Clearly, the implications of a No-Deal BREXIT are both more immediate and more significant for test laboratories and customers alike.

Irrespective of the BREXIT outcome, the role of UKAS, the recognition of UKAS accreditation under ISO17025 and the validity of the testing that our laboratories perform are all unchanged. Additionally, the ability of UK industry to shape future standards and maintain current ones has been protected by BSI which has recently secured direct membership of CEN and CENELEC, the European standards-making bodies.

You can be assured that Eurofins will be monitoring developments closely and liaising with various UK trade organisations and government departments.

We will continue to update you as we move towards 29th March 2019.