British businesses will now be able to use the CE mark on their products indefinitely, in a significant climbdown for the Government’s post-Brexit regulatory reform plans.
The UKCA mark was previously intended to replace the CE mark on goods being sold in Great Britain, with the CE mark being phased out by December 2024. Today’s announcement by the Department for Business and Trade means that both marks can now be used, either separately or alongside one another.
It is understood that the decision was made following pressure from businesses who claimed that the shift to UKCA marking would lead to significant additional costs and create unnecessary burdens when trading with European countries.
Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, said: “This is a pragmatic and common-sense decision that manufacturers will very much welcome and support. This announcement will help safeguard the competitiveness of manufacturers and aid the UK as a destination for investment.
“It should bring more confidence about doing business in the UK and recognises the need to work with the reality of doing business. Make UK has worked extensively with UK Government pushing hard for this decision and we are pleased the ongoing engagement has delivered this positive outcome.
“The extension will provide businesses with flexibility and choice to use either the UKCA or CE approach to sell products in Great Britain.”
The Department for Business and Trade said that the U-turn is “part of a wider package of smarter regulations designed to ease business burdens and help grow the economy by cutting barriers and red tape.”
Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “The Government is tackling red tape, cutting burdens for business, and creating certainty for firms – we have listened to industry, and we are taking action to deliver.
“By extending CE marking use across the UK, firms can focus their time and money on creating jobs and growing the economy.”
Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said: “It’s welcome to see the continued recognition of CE marked products. This will allow time for small firms to adjust to the UKCA marking system and focus on growing their business both at home and overseas.”
The CE (conformité européenne) mark was introduced in 1993 and is required to be displayed on goods sold in the European Economic Area (EEA). The UKCA mark was created in 2019 and became a symbol of the UK’s determination to leave the single market – the EU has repeatedly refused to recognise its use on products being sold within the EEA.