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FEATURE TEST & COMPLIANCE


Brexit does not mark the end


CE, UKCA and the new standards


Words by Nathan Emery, certification body manager, TÜV SÜD T


he UK officially leaving the EU on 31 January is just the first step in a long process, as the final transitional arrangements must be negotiated and finally established. Currently, any products that fall under a CE marking Directive cannot be imported into the EU unless they show the CE marking and provide the associated EU Declaration of Conformity (DoC), which often is simply a manufacturer’s self- declaration that the product complies with the relevant European legislation. Regardless of what happens with the post-Brexit trade negotiations between the EU and UK, the actual process for manufacturing compliant products will have little effect from a legal perspective. As the EU Directives are transposed into National Law, the UK already has a legal system in place that applies. There will of course be text amendments to reflect UK legislative requirements, including the provisions for applying the UKCA mark, replacing references to EU directives and the CE marking. While references to ‘harmonised standards’ will change to ‘designated standards’, the actual standards will be carried across to the UK to maintain a single model. Without a mutual recognition agreement between the EU and UK being established during the post-Brexit trade negotiations, end-users in the United Kingdom will start to see a UKCA mark on compliant products, while the CE marking persists within the EU. So, whether the United Kingdom or the EU, the same rules apply for designers, manufacturers and importers - everyone must understand their legal duties and their responsibilities. There will be a significant impact, however, in relation to the location of


30 MARCH 2020 | ELECTRONICS


the manufacturer. Under CE marking rules, UK companies exporting into the EU would previously have appointed a responsible person that was authorised to compile the technical file, and then the manufacturer could self-declare a product’s compliance. After Brexit, this responsible person or entity must now be physically located in the EU, which is the same rule that has been applied for many years to any other country outside of the EU. This will be reciprocated for EU entities importing into the UK, although the definition wording may be slightly different. Quite simply, post-exit from the EU, the UK will operate a separate regulatory regime. The same requirements will apply to notified bodies, as they will need to be based in the EU or an EFTA member country to retain this status. So, product manufacturers should consider if their existing notified body, based in one of the remaining EU countries, will have the legal capacity to meet UK certification requirements in the future.


Some UK notified bodies,


TÜV SÜD included, will already be prepared for the EU-UK split and will have secured Notified Body Accreditation from an EU-based authority, to ensure that CE marking certification remains seamless for their UK clients after Brexit. This will ensure that UK-based manufacturers can maintain product CE certification and obtain new ones, no matter what occurs after the trade negotiations. This is particularly pertinent if the UK leaves the EU without a mutual recognition agreement, as UK-based organisations that have not


taken this option would cease to be an EU notified body. Under the current proposal for the UKCA mark, existing, UK-based notified bodies will become UK Approved Bodies. So, their actual function will remain the same but under a different title. Meanwhile, all relevant certificates that have already been issued for EU Directives before Brexit, such as for radio equipment, machinery and marine equipment, will remain valid beyond Brexit. Products entering the UK market will need to start applying the UKCA mark and, where stipulated by the UK legislative requirements, seek third party Type Examination Certification by a UK Approved Body. One key thing that is important to bear in mind is that for a UK distributor of equipment manufactured in the EU, their status will transition from distributor to importer. The responsibility for compliance will rest with the distributor, in following the UK’s new UKCA requirements. Both the CE and UKCA markings are a visible sign that a product complies with all of the relevant standards and directives, as required by the EU and UK regulatory authorities. It is therefore essential that manufacturers and designers of electronic products understand how


Nathan Emery, certification body manager, TÜV SÜD


to apply the vast range of possible relevant standards and directives, in order to ensure both the compliance and saleability of equipment that is destined for these two markets.


TÜV SÜD www.tuvsud.com / ELECTRONICS


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