Brexit’s new rules and market access implications

Staying abreast of market entry requirements is more important than ever as the regulatory landscape in the U.K. and EU finally reached an agreement. Here’s what we know today:

Following the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) departure from the European Union (EU) on Jan. 31, 2020, the EU and U.K. jointly agreed on a transition period that will end ended on Dec. 31, 2020. During the transition, the U.K. maintained status-quo for businesses and consumers, which means that the EU still recognized U.K. notified bodies, and manufacturers could sell CE marked products into the U.K. market until Dec. 31, 2020.

On Dec. 24, 2020, the United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement.  The U.K.-EU trade Agreement contains new rules for living, working and trading together and entered into force on Dec. 31, 2020. The full Agreement is 1,246 pages and is available here.  

The deal secures tariff-free access between EU and U.K. markets, but does not change the compliance process, so the UKCA and the conformity to the U.K. Legislations remain mandatory for placing goods on the market in Great Britain. The new rules apply from 11 p.m. Dec. 31, 2020. 

Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on businesses, on Aug. 24, 2021 the Government has announced the extension of the deadline to 1 January 2023 to apply UKCA marks for certain products to demonstrate compliance with product safety regulations, superseding the previously announced deadline of 1 January 2022. The CE marked goods in scope of this document that meet EU requirements can continue to be placed on the GB market until 1 January 2023 where EU and U.K. requirements remain the same. This includes goods that have been assessed by an EU recognized notified body.  

The UKCA mark must be used for placing goods on the GB market from 1 January 2023. 

The UKCA marking

UKCA The new UKCA (U.K. Conformity Assessed) marking declares that the product conforms to all applicable U.K. legislative requirements and that appropriate conformity assessment procedures have been successfully completed. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the UKCA marking will replace the CE marking as a requirement for goods entering the Great Britain market, including England, Scotland and Wales. The UKCA marking will be required on products subject to the U.K. equivalent legislation to all the EU Directives/Regulations that required CE marking, including the Radio Equipment, EMC and Low Voltage Directives. Additionally, all U.K.-based EU Notified Bodies will also lose their status on Jan. 1, 2021. All EU Certificates issued by those bodies must be transferred to an EU 27 Notified Body by Dec. 31, 2020 to ensure continued validity.


UKCA marking implementation and transition

In August 2021, the U.K. Government extended the implementation period for the UKCA marking. The UKCA marking will apply to most goods currently subject to the CE marking (products covered by the following Directives/Regulations, e.g., LVD, EMCD, GAR, Machinery, ATEX, RoHS and RED). The UKCA marking can be used from January 2021. However, to allow businesses time to comply with the new requirements, CE marking can still be used until Jan. 1, 2023, provided that the requirements for the EU and U.K. legislation will continue to be the same.

Starting Jan. 1, 2023, the U.K. Government will no longer recognize the CE marking for Great Britain market access. Products bearing both the CE marking and UKCA marking will be acceptable as long as they comply with the relevant U.K. rules. The UKCA marking will need to be used immediately after January 1, 2021, if the product is only marketed in Great Britain and is covered by legislation that requires the UKCA marking and mandatory third-party intervention of a UKCA Approved Body.

For Northern Ireland, the CE marking will continue to be the conformity assessment marking for most goods. Manufacturers may also need the UKNI marking if selecting U.K. Approved Bodies for approvals or certification. Harmonized goods carrying only the UKCA marking will not be allowed in the Northern Ireland market.


How UL can help you achieve business continuity in the U.K and EU

UL is prepared to support changes to product marking schemes for the U.K. and mainland Europe immediately. We have established the following accredited Notified and Approved Bodies in the EU and U.K., allowing uninterrupted support for customers needing the UKCA mark and other global market access services.

UL EU Notified Body Services Capability

  • Construction Products Regulation 
  • Marine Equipment Directive 
  • Personal Protective Equipment Regulation 
  • Machinery Directive 
  • EMC Directive 
  • Radio Equipment Directive 
  • ATEX Directive 
  • Measurement Instrument Directive 
  • Gas Appliance Regulation 
  • Pressure Equipment Directive 
  • Hot-Water Boilers Directive 
  • Toys Directive 

UL U.K. Approved Body 

  • Construction Products Regulation* 
  • Marine Equipment Regulation 
  • Personal Protective Equipment Regulation 
  • Machinery Regulation 
  • Medical Devices Regulations 2002** 
  • EMC Regulations 
  • Radio Equipment Regulation 
  • ATEX Regulation 

*Approved Body for System 1+ and System 3 will be received in Q3/Q4 2021 for wire and cable (Product Area 31 – Power, control and communication cables).

**Limited scope currently, refer to MHRA website for details.

Our long-standing presence in and knowledge of the U.K. and EU markets helps you meet regulatory compliance as requirements change. Contact us for more information around how UL can ensure access of your products and services to Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the EU.

On-demand webinar | Brexit – New Compliance Regulations

Gain insights about the new upcoming regulatory changes for UK market access – the UKCA (United Kingdom Conformity Assessed mark – which will come into effect on 1 January, 2021.

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Areal view of london Brexit FAQ

Gain answers to commonly asked questions about how the Brexit’s new requirements transition impact market access.

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