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UK Plans to Introduce UKCA Symbol to Replace CE Marking in Case of a “No Deal” Brexit

In case of a “no deal” Brexit, the UK government announced, on 2 February 2019, that it will introduce its own marking for conformity assessment, used to certify household products such as kettles or lightbulbs, electronics such as televisions, smartphones as well as toys. The new symbol “UKCA” which stands for “UK Conformity Assessed” is still subject to UK parliamentary approval. If approved, the new symbol (the standard form of the UKCA marking) will replace the CE product marking used in the EU.

Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, in the majority of cases manufacturers will still be able to use the CE marking to demonstrate compliance with legal requirements and to sell products on the UK market after 29 March 2019. However, in some cases they will need to apply the new UKCA marking to products being sold in the UK. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy published a Guidance on trading goods regulated under the ‘New Approach’ if there is no Brexit deal, as well as separate guidance for construction products, medical devices and rail interoperability.

As Hong Kong traders will be aware, the CE mark shows consumers that a product complies with EU safety, health and environmental requirements. Most products which currently bear the CE marking will fall within the scope of the new UKCA marking. The applicable rules for the UKCA marking will be very similar to the rules on CE marking.

Mainly, if legislation requires third party assessment of conformity of a product by a UK conformity assessment body, manufacturers will have to apply the new UKCA marking after 29 March 2019. If the certificate of conformity has been transferred to an EU-recognised body, the CE marking will apply. Manufacturers which currently rely on a self-declaration of conformity for the CE marking will also be able to use the UKCA marking based on self-declaration.

It is important to note that the UKCA marking does not replace the CE marking for purposes of the EU market. Products which require a CE marking for sale in the EU will continue to require a CE marking as the UKCA marking is not recognised by the EU.

Just like the CE marking, the UKCA symbol is required to be attached to the product itself, although the requirements allow for it to be placed on the packaging or manuals instead. Rules for the use of the UKCA marking vary depending on the specific product legislation.

In general, the UKCA marking must only be placed on a product by the manufacturer or their authorised representative. The UKCA marking cannot be placed on products unless this is specifically required by legislation. By attaching the UKCA marking, manufacturers or authorised representatives take full responsibility for the product’s conformity with the relevant legal requirements. There must not be any marking or sign that may mislead third parties as to the meaning or form of the UKCA marking and there must not be other markings on the product which affect the visibility, legibility or meaning of the UKCA marking.

In addition to the visible marking, the legislation foresees technical documentation requirements. The manufacturer or their authorised representative must keep documentation to demonstrate the conformity of the product. Market surveillance or enforcement authorities may request this information at any time, up to a maximum of 10 years after the product is placed on the market. The record keeping requirement will vary depending on the specific legislation relevant to the product. In general, records on how the product is designed and manufactured, how the product conforms to the relevant requirements as well as the addresses of the manufacturer and any storage facilities must be kept. The information should be stored in the form of a technical file which can be supplied to a market surveillance authority.

Most products bearing a UKCA marking must also have the UK Declaration of Conformity. In the document the manufacturer, or their authorised representative, declares that the product is in conformity with the relevant statutory requirements applicable to the specific product. This document has to include the name and address of the manufacturer (or the authorised representative) together with information about the product and, where applicable, the conformity assessment body.

Manufacturers will not need to change anything for goods that are sold on the UK market before 29 March 2019. These goods can continue to circulate in the UK without any changes to the marking requirements.

After 29 March 2019, the continued use of the CE markings will be limited in time. The government is expected to consult businesses before taking a decision on when this period would end. Manufacturers will be able, for this period of time, to continue to use the CE marking when placing their products on the UK market if their product meets the relevant EU requirements. This would include products that have had any necessary third-party assessment carried out by an EU-recognised body.

To place CE marked goods on the UK market after 29 March 2019, until such time as they are allowed, manufacturers and their authorised representatives will need to ensure that these goods meet the essential requirements as set out in the EU legislation, undergo the relevant conformity assessment procedure (including by an EU recognised body where needed), display the CE conformity marking, and are accompanied by technical documentation or other records and an EU declaration or attestation of conformity (in English).

The new symbol has raised concerns that the change to the UKCA marking might be costly since companies would have to change the marking on the products itself as well as packaging and advertising.

For more information, please click on the following webpage: Gov.UK.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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