Labelling, conformity and representation for UK manufacturers after Brexit

Author
Rohan Roy
Senior Policy Analyst | Business West
11th December 2020

For UK-based manufacturers selling into the EU, labelling requirements will change regardless of whether there is a deal or not. Labelling will have to take into account of whether EU logos can continue to be used, whether printed addresses need to be updated and of new UK conformity marks. 

EU labelling requirements  

According to EU law, many products placed on the EU market have to be labelled or marked with the name, address, or identifier of either the EU-based body that has certified the product, or an EU based entity that has taken on the regulatory responsibility of the product in the EU. This is the case - for example - for industrial products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. You can check the specifics for your product here. Where this is applicable - but where businesses have not yet addressed this issue - the best path given the time constraints may be to work with your EU importer/distributor to determine whether they are happy to take on the additional obligations, including having their address labelled on the product. More long-term options could include agreeing an Authorised Representative in the EU, or establishing a subsidiary. Ultimately, legal responsibility for having and EU address on the product falls with the importer.  

Authorised Representative 

In the vast majority of cases, you do not need an Authorised Representative in the EU in order to put a CE marking in the product. Usually, CE marking requires certification from a Notified Body based in the EU, or can be self-certified by the manufacturer. However, after the transition period, the importer of UK-manufactured goods into the EU will have increased legal responsibilities. Naturally, this will come with an extra cost for UK manufacturers, and some EU distributors will be resistant to becoming importers for this reason. One way to avoid this and to simplify EU trade is to appoint an Authorised Representative (AR) in the EU. An AR takes on the legal obligations which would otherwise fall on the importer – including any requirement to have an EU-based address on the goods. From July 2021, the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 will come into affect, meaning that all manufacturers based outside the EU must appoint an AR (or an importer) within the EU if they wish to continue to sell CE marked goods within the EU. More information can be found out about this here (Link to Tracy’s article). 

UK conformity 

After Brexit, the UK will have its own conformity assessment (to replace CE marking). UKCA certification and marking will be required to place products on the UK market, although for most products this will not become mandatory until 2022, to allow time for businesses to adapt. 

 

Extra resources: 

UK Gov: Placing manufactured goods on the EU market from 1 January 2021

EU Commission: Getting ready for the end of the transition period

UK Gov: UKCA Marking 

CE Marking and Authorised Representatives 

 

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