What does the CE mark do?
A CE mark enables the free movement of goods throughout the EU-27’s Member States and beyond.
It removes Technical Barriers to Trade, enables manufacturers to declare a high level of performance and allows products to be placed on the EU-27 Single Market (i.e. when a contract of sale has been agreed for a product).
In order to apply a CE mark to a product, it must be tested and found to be in compliance with one or more of the EU’s laws, which can be found on the EU Commission’s website. The Official Journal of the European Union contains a full list of the EU’s Directives and Regulations.
Who is responsible for a product, if there is a problem?
The EU places responsibility for products with the manufacturer or the importer of goods; whichever party places the product on the EU Single Market. In a post-Brexit EU-UK scenario, the UK becomes a third country, meaning that legal responsibility for a product shall remain with the importer of that product, who is based within the EU’s territory.
The 6 Steps to CE marking using Harmonised Standards (hENs):
- Identify which Directives and Harmonised Standards (hENs) apply to your product
- Verify the Essential Characteristics of your product
- Determine if a Notified Body is required to certify your product
- Test the product to ensure it is safe to place on the market
- Draft your Declaration of Performance and Declaration of Conformity
- Affix the CE mark
How will Brexit impact on my product’s certification?
If you currently CE mark your product under existing EU rules, you will still be required to do so post-Brexit. UK Notified Bodies lose their status as EU Notified Bodies when departing the EU, which means that if you or your suppliers currently have your products assessed by a UK Notified Body, you will need to source an alternative EU Notified Body, to continue certifying your products to compliance with EU standards.
While ‘CE’ marking products may no longer be a legal requirement within the UK post-Brexit, UK exporters selling to the EU will still need to demonstrate the conformity of products to EU standards to continue selling products to the EU, and may require the services of an EU Notified Body to do so.
The requirement for evidence of conformity may also apply to EU / Irish exporters who are exporting to the UK, although the extent to which the UK’s rules on trade may change remains to be made clear.