The UK government has just tabled EU Exit legislation to introduce easements outlined in recent guidance on placing products on the market in Great Britain after the transition period ends and certain measures to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol. Further guidance is also on the way. Here's our snap review...
With two and a half months until the end of the UK's transition period out of the EU, the UK Government has just tabled two pieces of EU Exit legislation on 13 October. This follows the guidance published on 1 September (see our blog here). Many of the provisions will formalise measures outlined in the September guidance into law. There are also new product safety measures to address aspects of the requirements that will apply to products marketed in, and shipped from, Northern Ireland. The UK Government has also announced that further guidance is on the way concerning goods legally placed on the EEA market before the end of the transition period which are allowed to circulate on the GB market until they reach their end-user.
The new legislation is playing catch-up with the September guidance and amends various pieces of legislation to formalise measures from that guidance into UK law, including:
- Setting a 12 month time-limit on the continued recognition of goods placed on the GB market that meet EU requirements.
- Extending the period from 18 months to 24 months in which the UK importer details for goods placed on the GB market can appear on the packaging or a document accompanying the product (where the product is imported from an EEA state or Switzerland).
- Setting a time period of 24 months in which the UKCA marking can be placed on a label affixed to the product or to a document accompanying the product (rather than the product itself) for goods placed on the GB market.
- Making it clear that from 1 January 2021, authorised representatives must be based in the UK with respect to any products placed on the GB market.
Provisions have been introduced to allow "qualifying Northern Ireland goods" unfettered access to the market of Great Britain (picking-up measures from published policy documents).
In terms of Northern Ireland, the legislation sets out the form of the UK(NI) mark and sets out when, how and where the mark must be affixed, with a penalty for non-compliance. The legislation introduces provisions to make it clear that conformity assessment bodies based in the whole of the UK will be able to continue to assess products that are placed on the market in Northern Ireland, as set out in previous guidance. Amendments to existing UK EU derived product safety regulations will also be made so they continue to implement EU law in Northern Ireland (only).
The UK Government has flagged that guidance is coming down the line to make it clear that existing, individually identifiable goods legally placed on the EEA market before the end of the transition period may continue to circulate on the GB market until they reach their end-user and that inconsistent regulations (e.g. placing obligations on importers) will be overridden for such products. We'll post a link to this guidance on our Productwise blog once it's released.
We will continue to follow the Brexit developments on our blog. Our advice is that if you have not already, you should consider how the upcoming changes will impact your products and how you are going to achieve compliance. We are here to talk and help you through this!
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