Standards and EU Exit

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. We are close to end of the EU exit transition period, on 31 December 2020, after which point the UK, with exceptions in Northern Ireland, will no longer automatically align with EU rules or obligations.  The UK government is currently negotiating a trade agreement with the EU which will set out our future relationship.

BSI works closely with government departments to advise them about the way standards can support regulations. In addition to our regular engagement, BSI advises government on standards in trade negotiations. Scott Steedman, BSI’s Director of Standards, sits on the Strategic Trade Advisory Group, the government’s stakeholder forum on trade as the representative for standards and consumer protection. More information on our trade policy activity can be found through the link at the bottom of this page.


New UK rules and systems

Please note that the below is provided as information only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Should you require advice on regulatory issues, for example product marking, you may wish to seek advice from government. Further information could be found by contacting an enforcement body like a local authority trading standards department or a notified/approved body. If you are a BSI customer looking for advice on conformity assessment, you should contact BSI's Product Certification mailbox.

UK Internal Market, UKIM

The government has introduced proposals to parliament to create a new framework to support the ‘UK internal market’, UKIM. This reflects that powers returning from the EU are conferred on the devolved administrations and the UK, with the exception of certain regulations in Northern Ireland, is no longer in the EU single market. The purpose of UKIM is to enable intra-UK trade with minimised barriers; this means goods can flow without hinderance between the constituent parts of the UK. The UKIM splits the UK into two market areas, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. BSI will support all governments of the UK with standards should they be required to support public policy.

UKCA

The UKCA mark will be the mark placed on a product to declare regulatory conformity to specific laws in England, Scotland and Wales (the GB market area) following the end of the EU exit transition period. It will replace the CE marking in that regard. Relevant products placed on the GB market from on 1 January 2021 and beyond will need to meet UK regulatory requirements and then have the UKCA mark affixed to them.

Northern Ireland will continue to use the CE marking, and in some cases also the new mark, UKNI. EU notified bodies will continue to be involved in the conformity assessment for products placed in on the market in Northern Ireland that are subject to CE marking legislation. The UKNI mark will only be affixed to a product if a UK notified body has been used in the conformity assessment, and it will accompany the CE marking. Products labelled with the CE and UKNI marks will be legal for supply in Northern Ireland, not in the EU. They will also be legal for supply in Great Britain if placed on the market by a Northern Ireland business.

As an exception to the UKCA marking rules, the CE marking will continue to be accepted in the UK for relevant goods coming from the EU until the end of 2021 (with some specific exceptions, such as 30 June 2023 for medical devices), provided neither UK nor EU legislation changes in the meantime.

Designated standards

The UK government, through the relevant Secretary of State, will designate certain standards that can confer a presumption of conformity with relevant UK regulations (UKCA marking regulations). We anticipate these will be listed on a section of the ‘.gov.uk’ website. BSI is working with government to provide the information necessary for government to develop and run a system for the designation of standards.

This will replace the citation by the European Commission of harmonised standards in the Official Journal of the EU as part of the new UKCA regime for the Great Britain market.

The role of National Standards Body post transition period

BSI continues to ensure that our national standards processes are robust and transparent, based on broad stakeholder consensus, open public consultation and regular review. Speed and agility are vital, as we have seen in BSI’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, releasing guidance and making standards more easily available.

Responding to government policy is a key element of BSI’s national standards body role. Enabling regulatory compliance in the UK, for example, is an important way in which our national standards (British Standards) meet stakeholder needs.

Under the direction of UK stakeholders including government, BSI has for many years sought wherever possible to develop international standards first, with UK leadership or influence.

We will continue to promote and enable UK stakeholder leadership in international and European regional standardization. BSI will work with government on the role of standards as an enabler of trade and international competitiveness. We will optimize the participation of UK stakeholders through BSI’s membership of ISO, IEC, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI and our support for UK government in the ITU, always recognizing the need for flexibility where standards are used to support compliance with national regulation.

CEN and CENELEC membership

BSI's membership of CEN and CENELEC continues beyond the end of the EU exit transition period. The General Assemblies of CEN and CENLELEC have set a timeframe to update the organizations’ statutes in response to the UK’s departure from the EU. This will run until the end of 2021, enabling the UK’s continued influence over standards produced in CEN and CENELEC, providing stability and certainty for our stakeholders. BSI is confident its membership will continue beyond that time and we are working with the other CEN and CENELEC members to ensure the best outcome for the UK.

CEN and CENELEC voting procedure

From 1 July 2020, BSI has been classed as a non-EEA member of CEN and CENELEC. This affects a few specific voting situations. In the types of vote listed in subclause 6.1.4 of CEN/CENELEC internal regulations part 2 (e.g. new or amended European standards), weighted voting is applied. In the first stage, votes from all members are counted and the proposal is adopted if the weighted voting criteria are met. There are no changes to the UK in this stage; our weighting remains the same. However, if the proposal is not adopted in the first stage the votes of only the EEA countries are counted separately. In this situation, the UK’s vote would not be counted.

Therefore, if the proposal passes stage 1, all members are obliged to implement it, including BSI. If the proposal fails stage 1 but passes stage 2, all EEA members are obliged to implement it, along with any non-EEA members that voted positively. This means that if BSI voted negatively, it would not be obliged to implement the decision. If BSI voted positively, we would be obliged to implement the decision. If the proposal fails stage 2, there is no further action.

Other standards organizations

BSI’s membership of ETSI continues and will not undergo a statute review as membership arrangements are unaffected by the UK’s exit from the EU. BSI’s voting on ETSI ENs has also moved to the non-EEA category.

BSI’s membership of the international standards organisations ISO and IEC is unaffected by the UK’s exit from the EU. BSI does not manage UK activity with ITU, which is the responsibility of UK government.