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Product safety: UKCA mark delayed until 1 January 2023

Manufacturers now have until 1 January 2023 to start using the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) product safety mark which replaces the current EU CE mark post-Brexit. Walker Morris Regulatory & Compliance experts Claire Burrows and Rachel Turnbull explain.

What has changed and what does it mean in practice?

As we set out in our earlier briefing on Brexit and product safety, products conforming to EU rules, including those bearing the CE mark, could continue to be placed on the market in Great Britain until 31 December 2021. The new UKCA mark was required to be used thereafter to demonstrate compliance with UK product safety regulations. On 24 August 2021, the government confirmed that businesses now have a further year, to 1 January 2023, to get ready for the new UKCA mark.

In practice, this means that all goods currently bearing the CE mark can continue to be placed on the market in Great Britain without the need to apply the new UKCA mark (which in many cases will require products to be retested), until 1 January 2023. A different date of 1 July 2023 applies in relation to medical devices (see our separate briefing for details). The government’s updated guidance on using the UKCA mark can be found here.

This change will come as welcome relief for manufacturers – both exporters and importers – already struggling with supply chain issues in the context of the ongoing global pandemic and the Brexit effect.

Reacting to the news, the Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce highlighted the current lack of testing capacity to enable the retesting of decades worth of CE marked items for the new UKCA mark. He also referred to the wider problem of complex supply chains such as those in the automotive industry which face having to duplicate product safety marks on certain components, thereby incurring large testing costs. He says this could compromise the output of these industries, limit availability of goods, and create mounting cost pressures on British businesses. The government is urged to fully consider the impact before completely ‘pulling the plug’ on CE marked goods.

Some European companies may decide that the process of obtaining the UKCA mark is not worth the time, effort and cost involved, adding to British supply chain disruption. Walker Morris will continue to monitor and report on developments.

How we can help

We have a large team of commercial, regulatory and international trade specialists who can provide advice and assistance on all aspects of product safety, the complexities of trading internationally and navigating supply chain issues including disputes. You can read about our supply chain contract health check services here. If you have any queries arising from this briefing, please contact Claire or Rachel, who will be very happy to help.