Tom Pemberton considers a couple of the key changes to the terms of trade between the EU and the UK under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement
All businesses which rely on the import or export of goods from or to the EU27 need to adapt to the changes to our trading arrangements with the EU which have effect as from 1 January 2021.
Where can I find guidance on the new rules of origin?
Bilateral trade between the UK and EU will continue to be duty free and quota free provided the relevant rules of origin are satisfied. Detailed guidance on the rules of origin can be found on the Government's website. Guidance can also be found here on the customs declarations which will need to be completed in order to claim the preferential rates of duty between the UK and the EU.
CE marking and the new UK UKCA mark
It continues to be a requirement for goods placed on the EU market to have the CE mark by way of confirmation that they comply with EU product regulations.
Export businesses will therefore need to ensure that any mandatory third-party conformity assessment is carried out by an EU-recognised notified body where necessary in relation to goods that are intended for export to the EU27 countries after 1 January 2020. If you are using a UK approved body for this purpose, you should check with them whether they are taking steps to enable you continue to export to the EU without needing to switch to an EU-recognised notified body, and seek appropriate guidance from them in this connection.
What is the new UK UKCA mark? UK Conformity Assessment
The government has published guidance on CE marking, including the new UKCA mark which is the conformity assessment marking for Great Britain from 1 January 2021 for most goods. Northern Ireland is subject to another conformity assessment regime from that date, to comply with the "no hard border on the island of Ireland" provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Can goods with a CE mark be used in the UK?
The good news is that CE marking will continue to be accepted on most goods which are placed on the UK market until 31 December 2021. However, the government advises that suppliers should look to use the UKCA marking as soon as possible.
It is important to be aware that CE marked goods can only be placed on the market in Great Britain while UK and EU product conformity requirements remain the same. This is the case as at 1 January 2021 and the government has advised there are no UK plans to diverge at this time. However there is likely to be divergence in future as the respective EU and UK regulatory requirements evolve.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.