GB stores can stock already CE-marked goods till 2022, says new government guidance

Wed 2 Sept 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

ukca mark

Goods stamped with the EU’s CE mark can continue to be stocked in British stores till as late as 2022 provided relevant EU and UK standards continue to align, the government announced yesterday (1 September).

The government published new guidance about regulations for manufactured goods being placed on the UK market after the current transition period – in which EU rules continue to apply for the UK – ends on 31 December 2020.

The news has been welcomed by manufacturers and traders alike, with Make UK's CEO Stephen Phipson today (2 September) telling the Daily Update that firms will be feeling a "huge relief".

New UKCA mark

The CE Mark shows that goods conform to European standards, allowing them to be freely moved within the single market.

Post-transition, the UK will replace the CE mark with its own UKCA certification which will show that certain goods conform with UK health, safety and environmental protection standards.

Leeway for manufacturers

However, to avoid a sharp cut-off date for manufacturers putting products into the GB market, the government has announced it will continue to accept the CE mark for already stocked goods.

Manufacturers have welcomed the news, with trade body Make UK's Phipson saying:

“Whilst we need to reflect and digest the full implications of the announcement, at first glance this will be a huge relief for British manufacturers.

"The announcement provides certainty about the standards framework for the immediate period after the end of the transition period allowing firms to plan, make and take orders with confidence, which is particularly critical in the current economic climate.”

Kevin Shakespeare, director of stakeholder engagement for the Institute of Export & International Trade, agreed that the new guidance provides much needed 'leeway', saying:

“We welcome the leeway this will give already trading manufacturers, giving them time to prepare for using the new UKCA mark once UK and EU standards eventually diverge.”

UKCA applies for new goods

For goods entering the UK market after 1 January 2021, the new UKCA mark will be required.

These goods will also require separate CE certification to be entered into the EU or into Northern Ireland, businesses are encouraged to read the guidance carefully.

Alignment till 2022?

The government is clear that CE-marked goods will only be allowed in Great Britain while UK and EU requirements are the same but says it does not anticipate any divergence before 1 January 2022.

However, the guidance encourages companies to be ready to use the UKCA mark as soon as possible and by 1 January 2022 at the latest.

“If the EU changes their rules and you CE mark your goods based on new EU rules which are different from the requirements in the UK, you will no longer be able to use the CE marking in the UK,” the guidance says. “This will be the case even if the change happens before 1 January 2022.”