Updated: Sep 6, 2021
The government pushes back a deadline for the launch of post-Brexit product safety standards by allowing companies to follow EU rules until 2023.
Manufacturers will have until 2023 to start using the new UKCA mark which is planned to replace the EU’s CE Mark, which has been used to certify that a wide range of products meet safety standards, including electrical goods and construction materials.
This extension means all goods which previously required the CE marking will not need to use the UKCA marking until 1 January 2023. The exception is medical devices, where businesses will not need to use the UKCA marking until 1 July 2023.
In the latest delay to post-Brexit reforms as firms struggle with disruption caused by the pandemic and leaving the EU, the government said firms would be given more time to adapt. “Recognising the impact of the pandemic on businesses, the government will extend this deadline to 1 January 2023 to apply UKCA marks for certain products to demonstrate compliance with product safety regulations, rather than 1 January 2022,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.
According to The Guardian in this article from 24th Aug 21, "Business leaders had said that forcing them to meet new UK rules, which will at first duplicate EU product standards, would come with significant cost at a delicate moment for the economy. CE markings are required for a wide range of consumer products, from laptops to table lamps and hairdryers
Ministers argue the UKCA mark will allow the UK to control its goods regulations while maintaining high safety standards. However, many businesses say the changes will force them to fill in reams of additional paperwork or make changes to their production lines, as manufacturers selling goods in both the EU and the UK will be forced to follow two regimes"
The British Chambers of Commerce Reaction to this Announcement
William Bain, the Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the delay to the UKCA mark was welcome but added that fundamental problems in the post-Brexit system could damage British firms.
“There is currently a lack of testing capacity to enable the retesting of decades worth of CE marked items for the new UKCA specification, so this measure will be hugely important in allowing time for that capacity to be built and for retesting to take place.”
“A wider problem does still exist however – complex supply chains such as those in the automotive industry still face having to duplicate markings on certain components and incurring large costs for testing as a result. This could compromise the output of these industries, limit availability of goods for consumers and create mounting cost pressures on British businesses.
“The Government needs to work now with businesses to ensure full consideration to the impacts are given before any decision to completely pull the plug on CE-marked goods, risking incurring costs to our economy that we may come to regret.”
Businesses must take action to ensure they are ready to apply UKCA marking by 1 January 2023, the final deadline.
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Source: HMRC, BCC and The Guardian