UK Conformity mark - what do I do?
Over the weekend, the UK government published their proposed conformity mark. As I mentioned in my last post, the UK have been really busy developing regulations to ensure the market can function in the event of no deal (you will note government sources have now dropped the word "unlikely" from this phrase).
Many are trying to figure out how this mark is to be used, the UK government did issue guidance but it is rather general. The answer lies in the draft regulations themselves. I took a look at the toy regulation since its one we know and love and it is a model for the new approach directives. Here are a few notes of the significant parts
The technical requirements aren't changing. They will remain the same until they are amended at some point in the future by the UK.
There is no transition period. The regulations refer to "exit day". On the day before exit day, the 2011 Toy regulations apply (read Toy Safety Directive) and on exit day forwards, the new UK regulations apply.
Products placed on the market before exit day can remain on the market. There is no need to change to comply with the new requirements after exit day if your products are in warehouses in the UK or in store.
The CE mark will be replaced by the UK mark. All rules and details apply as they did to the CE mark. The lack of transition may cause issues here, as is being widely reported.
You will need a UK address. Companies placing products on the UK market will need to be named on pack. The importer and manufacturer definitions work just the same but when reading the importer definition, you need to swap EU for UK. All the rules for applying the addresses remain the same.
The standards will probably remain the same. "Harmonised standards" will become "Designated standards" and will be published in a list maintained by the secretary of state. This needs to be confirmed but it is quite likely that the BS EN71 series will be used (and BS EN 62115).
I don't see these requirements changing much, on the face of it they look OK. The key thing needed now is the date of "exit day". Complying with the requirements ought to be pretty easy if we are two years away but not so easy if it is only 2 months.
This is only a review of the toy regulations but you can expect that it will be reflected throughout consumer product law. For now, follow my guidance from last week and get everything mapped out. Then you need to decide whether to take a risk on the date of exit day.
An update and a clarification...
After 29 March 2019 you will still be able to sell goods which have been made and assessed against EU regulatory requirements and then CE marked on the UK market. This is intended to be for a time-limited period. We will consult with industry and provide notice before ending this time-limited period.
Products that have undergone the complete process of manufacturing and conformity assessment (i.e. which are ready for placing on the market) can still be placed on the UK market with a CE Marking after 29 March 2019.
The way the draft toy regulation is written, it does not contain transition provisions for labelling. Unless the government provide for an overarching regulation to allow for the CE mark to be used for a "time-limited period", then the UKCA must be used on exit day
My advice: I would probably hold on for more clarity but be prepared to label products in a rush by the end of March. I would also mitigate risk by trying to ship product in early, if at all possible. I also fully expect that the UK will allow for some sort of transition, if not in law than by a stay of enforcement.