Should I use a UKCA, CE or UKNI mark on my products?
Following the end of the EU transition period on 31st December 2020, businesses have had to adapt to several changes to comply with new rules between the UK and EU. One of these changes is how products are marked to show that they are suitable to market.
Previously, specific goods being sold in the UK and EU needed to have a CE mark. However, after Brexit, this is no longer the case. With the introduction of UKCA and UKNI marks, the mark you must use will vary depending on where you intend to sell. It is vital to make sure you use the right marking to adhere to standards.
As we speak, some transition timeframes are open to businesses regarding when they must adopt the new marking system and what products these apply to now. Due to this, the rules can be confusing.
In this blog, we have explicitly detailed when the three marks should be used to make it simpler to understand what rules apply to you and when.
What are the marks for?
The CE, UKCA and UKNI marks are all conformity marks. The presence of one of these marks on a product indicates it has passed the required assessment for the market. This means it has passed environmental, safety and health protection standards for the area it is being sold.
Not all goods require conformity marks. Generally, it applies to manufactured goods, including machinery, medical devices, toys, PPE and measuring instruments. A full list of products that need the marks can be viewed here.
If you are a manufacturer of one of these types of product, you need to carry out a conformity assessment and, once the evaluation is passed, use the mark in order to be able to sell it. In some cases, you may need a third party to carry out an independent assessment.
Goods that are found to not comply with standards, even if they have a mark on, will be removed from the market and the manufacturer may be subject to a fine or even legal action.
A brief table of when different marks apply can be seen below:
When to use a UKCA mark?
The UKCA marking system came into action on 1st January 2021 to replace the EU-specific CE mark. Any goods produced to be sold on in Great Britain will need to have a UKCA marking. This applies to goods that would have previously required a CE mark, as well as aerosol products.
Regardless of where the product is being produced (UK, EU or anywhere else), it will need to obtain a UKCA mark before being sold in Great Britain.
Your product will need to pass a conformity assessment that will test its compliance with British standards and technical requirements to get the mark. These standards are mostly the same as the previous EU system. The assessment will need to be carried out by a UK conformity assessment body – though there may be some instances where you can self-declare conformity.
There is currently a transition period whereby businesses can continue to use the CE mark in place of the UKCA mark. This ends on 31st December 2021. So, from 1st January 2022, you will need to ensure any goods you put to the market in Great Britain have a UKCA mark.
There are some exceptions to this rule, which may have an extended grace period until 30th June 2023.
If you have existing stock that has already passed EU conformity assessments and has a CE mark, you will be able to sell these until January 2022. This is unless the EU or UK changes its rules and your goods no longer comply as a result. From 1st January 2022, you will need to affix a UKCA mark, though this can be as a sticker. From January 2023, these needed to be permanently attached.
If you are manufacturing goods now to sell in Britain, it is recommended you use the UKCA marking to comply with rules after the end of 2021.
When to use a CE mark?
As mentioned, the CE mark can continue to be used on goods being sold to British markets until 1st January 2022. After this point, the CE mark will only apply to products that will be sold within the EU or EEA.
These goods will be subject to conformity requirements in the same way as they were before Brexit. However, you will need to have an assessment from an EU party if required, as UK assessment bodies will no longer provide CE mark certification (unless they have created protocol to cover the EU).
If you are selling goods on both Great British and EU markets, they will need to show both a UKCA and CE mark from 1st January 2022.
You can find out more about the rules for selling goods on EU/EEA markets on the government website.
When to use a UKNI mark?
Along with the UKCA mark, the UKNI mark was introduced from 1st January for goods sold to Northern Ireland.
Under the Northern Ireland protocol, rules for placing manufactured goods on the market will correspond with EU rules. So, goods with a CE mark will be sold in Northern Ireland as they were before Brexit.
The UKNI mark applies when a product is sold to the Northern Irish market but has undergone a conformity assessment in UK. In this instance, a UKNI mark must be used to show it meets the UK’s standards.
The UKNI mark should never be used alone on a product. Instead, it will always be used in conjunction with a CE mark to show it has passed EU standards and British standards.
Goods with CE and UKNI markets will also have unrestricted access to British markets, without additional approvals (such as a UKCA mark) being required.
Understanding the new rules regarding your services and products is a fundamental challenge that businesses must overcome. Knowing the changes to conformity markings and assessments will ensure you are placing the right information on your goods and enabling them to be sold on the relevant markets with minimal issue.
If you are struggling to come to terms with the UKCA marking system or any other post-Brexit changes, we are here to help.
Our team of advisors have expertise on a range of critical topics, including trade, employment, finance and regulation. As such, we can provide you with tailored advice that supports your business as it adjusts to this new chapter for the UK.