Last month the UK Government announced it will give businesses another two years to apply the new UKCA product safety markings and continue to recognise the EU CE mark during the extended transitional period.
The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking was introduced to replace EU "CE" product conformity markings following Brexit, and would have required any goods marketed in the UK to have a UKCA from 1 January 2023. The extension announced by the government will allow UK firms to use either UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) or CE markings for another two years.
The announcement from the UK Government notes that the delay has been agreed in recognition of the difficult economic conditions created by post-pandemic shifts in supply and demand and following the invasion of Ukraine and associated high energy prices. Industry bodies have generally welcomed the news and the release of pressure on businesses from an impending deadline that businesses were simply not ready for (though this is the second extension to the transitional period). However, criticism continues to circulate more widely around the UK Government's continuing move towards the UKCA mark (even with this delay) as being an unnecessary step that adds only more costs and more red tape for UK businesses, cautioning that it may still cause overseas businesses to reconsider supplying the UK market as a result. It continues to be the case that the EU does not recognise the UKCA mark, and any product placed on the EU market must bear the CE mark.
The announcement was made as part of a package of measures, which also includes the introduction of legislation seeking to reduce the costs of re-testing products which comply with EU rules. The Government plans to permit conformity assessment activities for CE marking which are undertaken by 31 December 2024 to be used by manufacturers as the basis for the UKCA marking, until 31 December 2027. Similarly, businesses can affix the UKCA marking and include importer information for products from EEA countries on an accompanying document or label, rather than the product itself, until 31 December 2027.
While the secondary legislation to effect the delay is not yet in force, it is expected to be in place ahead of the 31 December 2022 deadline.