Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, there has been a transitional period during which the terms of trade between the UK and the EU are determined. One of the discussion’s subjects is a CE mark that applies in the EU. As the United Kingdom is no longer part of the Community, the CE mark will be replaced by the UKCA mark.
What is the UKCA mark?
UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark is a new product marking. As soon as the transition period ends, it will be placed on certain goods placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).
The CE and UKCA mark may be affixed to the product if it complies with the relevant UK and EU regulations.
It should be noted that the UKCA mark will not replace the CE mark throughout the UK. Products intended to be placed on the market in Northern Ireland still will bear the CE mark instead of the UKCA, under the following conditions:
- if UK bodies approve the product, the UK (NI) mark will apply, and the product can be placed on the market in Great Britain
- with the CE mark, products originating from Northern Ireland will exist on both the British and European Union markets.
When are the new regulations in force?
If you imported goods into the UK before January 1, 2021, you do not need to make any changes. The products can be sold CE marked as long as they comply with UK regulations and have been entirely manufactured by the end of 2020. However, if you plan to import goods into the UK after that date, you must consider the new regulations. The standards, however, will be similar to those currently in force.
The goods or their packaging must bear the UKCA mark after January 1, 2021, if they meet the following conditions:
- the goods are to be placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales)
- comply with the regulations concerning the UKCA mark
- passed positively mandatory third-party conformity assessment procedures
- UK bodies carried out the conformity assessment procedures, and the documents were not drawn up by EU recognized bodies before January 1, 2021.
In most cases, the time to adapt to the new conditions is extended till January 1, 2022. It means that the CE mark will be considered valid in some cases in the UK until that date.
However, it is emphasized that the CE mark will be valid in Great Britain, where regulations remain in force within the EU. If the Community regulations regarding CE are changed, they will also be transformed in the United Kingdom (till the end of 2021).
From January 1, 2023, the UKCA mark must appear on the product in most cases. The importer must ensure that the mark has been placed correctly.
What products should bear the UKCA mark?
Most of the goods that will need to bear the UKCA are known as new approach goods. Such goods often bear the CE mark in the EU.
The UKCA mark will apply to:
- toy safety
- radio equipment
- pressure equipment
- electromagnetic compatibility
- low voltage electrical equipment
- restriction of hazardous substances
- non-automatic weighing instruments
- recreational or personal watercraft
- personal protective equipment
- simple pressure vessels
- measuring instruments
- outdoor machinery
- gas appliances
Products that are covered by the UKCA, but special rules apply to them:
- civil explosives
- medical devices
- construction products
- rail interoperability constituents
- products requiring ecodesign and energy labeling.
The above mark will be affixed to the goods or their packaging. In some cases, it will also appear in a manual and similar document.
Rules for affixing the UKCA mark:
- the person authorized to mark is the manufacturer or his authorized representative (unless the regulations provide otherwise)
- if the product has the UKCA mark, it means that it complies with the requirements for this product on the market
- it only applies if the regulations state so
- it must be legible, durable, and visible
- if reduced or enlarged, the mark must keep the original proportions
- unless provided otherwise in the relevant regulations, the UKCA mark shall have a height of at least 5 mm.
Please note that the UKCA mark will be invalid in the Member States of the European Union. The CE mark is still valid in the EU.
Documents relating to the UKCA
The manufacturer or his authorized representative must keep the documentation available for market surveillance authorities ten years after the last product has been placed on the market.
Generally, you should have the following information:
- how the product was designed and manufactured
- how it complies with the relevant regulations
- manufacturer’s address and storage facilities.
As in the CE mark case, a declaration of conformity must be obtained for most products to affix the UKCA mark. A UK Declaration of Conformity is required for goods to bear the UKCA marking. This document, drawn up by the manufacturer or his authorized representative in some instances, must be maintained for market surveillance authorities.
Like the EU declaration of conformity, the UK Declaration of Conformity should include at least:
- name and address of the manufacturer or authorized representative
- the serial number of the product as well as the model or type
- details of the approved body that carried out the conformity assessment procedure
- the relevant regulations with which the product complies
- declaration of compliance with relevant regulation
- the date of the issue of the declaration.
What is the importer’s role?
The importer must make sure that:
- the product is labeled with the company’s details (until the end of 2022, the data may be included in the documentation accompanying the product)
- products conform to relevant regulations
- the goods have tested and successfully passed required tests and bear appropriate markings
- the technical documentation received from the manufacturer is correct and complies with the requirements
- they keep a copy of the declaration of conformity for ten years.