Placing manufactured goods on the market
What manufacturers need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods placed on the market from 1 January 2021.
Check which rules apply
What a manufacture will need to do depends on the type of goods being placed on the market and which market the goods are placed on.
There are three markets for manufacturers to consider:
- EU market
- Great Britain market
- Northern Ireland market
The Great Britain market
While the whole of the United Kingdom left the EU Single Market and Customs Union on 1 January 2021, due to the Northern Ireland Protocol there are different market arrangements for Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI). Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland.
Government Guidance - Placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain
The Northern Ireland market
On 19 October 2019 The UK and EU concluded its Withdrawal Agreement which became UK and EU law on 1 February 2020. This included the Northern Ireland Protocol which establishes a new status for Goods trading in to Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
Goods placed on the Northern Ireland market must continue to be manufactured to relevant EU rules. EU conformity markings will continue to be used to show goods meet EU rules. For most, this is CE marking.
For more information on moving goods to Northern Ireland market see here
UK Government Guidance - Placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland
The EU Single market for goods
The EU Single Market accounts for 450 million consumers and 22.5 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Commission’s main goal is to ensure the free movement of goods within the market, and to set high safety standards for consumers and the protection of the environment.
UK Government Guidance - Placing manufactured goods on the EU market
European Commission guidance:
- Single market for goods
- Conformity assessment
- New legislative framework
- Harmonised and non-harmonised sectors
Placing on the market
A fully manufactured (individual) good is ‘placed on the market’ when a written or verbal agreement (or offer of an agreement) to transfer ownership or possession or other property rights in the product is exchanged. This does not require physical transfer of the good.
You can usually provide proof of placing on the market on the basis of any relevant document ordinarily used in business transactions, including:
- contracts of sale concerning goods which have already been manufactured and meet the legal requirements
- documents concerning the shipping of goods for distribution
The relevant economic operator (whether manufacturer, importer or distributor) bears the burden of proof for demonstrating that the good was placed on the market.
CE and UKCA Marking
On 1 January 2021 rules affecting conformity assessment and product labelling changed. For any good to be placed on the EU market, requiring a CE mark, it will need to be approved by a Notified Body based within the EU. UK Approved Bodies will not be recognised in the EU and cannot be used to assess a good for placing on the EU market. The EU bodies are authorised by national authorities and officially ‘notified’ to the European Commission and listed on the NANDO (New Approach Notified and Designated Organisations) database. The UK has decided to apply the product labelling rules for goods to be placed on the GB market with gradual effect. Guidance has been provided on the rules that will apply in GB. The new rules for placing goods on the EU market requiring a CE marking, have come into effect from 1 January 2021, without any easements. Firms will not need to change conformity assessment for exports to the EU if they self-declare the conformity of good against harmonised regulations.
Great Britain Market
UKCA and UK(NI) markings have come into effect from the 1 January 2021. It has been confirmed that there will be a transition period for acceptance of CE markings until 1 January 2022 (with some exceptions) to give companies time to transfer over to the new markings. All new manufactured stock will need to apply the new mark from 1 January 2021. It is recommended firms need to be ready to use the UKCA marking as soon as possible before 1 January 2022. The CE marking will only be valid in GB for areas where GB and EU rules remain the same. If the EU changes its rules and you CE mark your product on the basis of those new rules you will not be able to use the CE marking to sell in GB even before 31 December 2021.
The Northern Ireland Protocol came into force on 1 January 2021. For as long as it is in force, Northern Ireland will align with all relevant EU rules relating to the placing on the market of manufactured goods. You must show that your products meet those rules by using conformity markings. If this assessment is carried out by a UK based body the product will need to carry a UK(NI) mark. However if the assessment is carried out by an EU based body the product may carry a CE mark.
Please see a blog provided by the British Measurement and Testing Association (BMTA) here
Chemicals – EU REACH and UK REACH
New REACH Regulation have been brought into UK law. REACH, and related legislation, have been replicated in the UK with the necessary changes to make it operable in a domestic context. The key principles of the EU REACH Regulation have been retained. The domestic regime, which has been in operation in the UK from 1 January 2021, will be known as UK REACH.
UK REACH and the EU REACH regulations will operate independently from each other. Companies that are supplying and purchasing substances, mixtures or articles to and from the EU/EEA/Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) will need to ensure that the relevant duties are met under both pieces of legislation.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol the EU REACH Regulation will continue to apply to Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period, while UK REACH will regulate the access of substances to the GB market.
Intellectual Property, trademarks and patents
On 1 January 2021 there were changes to UK intellectual property law resulting from the departure from EU IP systems. While many of the changes to IP rights were made automatically by the UK Intellectual Property Office at the end of the transition, it is important for companies to understand their exposure to these changes and ensure that IP is protected in both the UK and the EU.
The Intellectual Property Office converted almost 1.4 million EU trade marks and 700,000 EU designs to comparable UK rights at the end of the transition period.
Use of representatives
From 1 January 2021, UK attorneys are unable to represent clients on new applications or new proceedings at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). UK trade mark owners need to appoint an EEA attorney to represent them on new applications and proceedings before the EUIPO.
From the 1 January 2021, EU trade marks (EUTMs) are no longer protected trade marks in the UK. On the 1 January 2021, the IPO created a comparable UK trade mark for all right holders with an existing EU trade mark.
Existing EUTMs will still protect trade marks in EU member states. UK businesses can still to apply the EU Intellectual Property Office for an EUTM.
You can apply for a European patent through the UK IPO or direct to the European Patent Office (EPO) to protect your patent in more than 30 countries in Europe, using the (non-EU) European Patent Convention (EPC).
As the EPO is not an EU agency, leaving the EU has not affected the current European patent system. Existing European patents covering the UK are also unaffected.
From 1 January 2021 the UK is considered a third country by the EU and under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In order for personal data to flow between the EU and the UK without further safeguard measures, the UK will need to be recognised by the EU as providing adequate protection.
The UK-EU TCA contains a bridging mechanism that allows the continued free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK after the transition period until adequacy decisions come into effect, for up to 6 months. EU adequacy decisions for the UK would allow for the ongoing free flow of data from the EEA to the UK.
As a sensible precaution, before and during the bridging mechanism, it is recommended that companies work with EU/EEA organisations who transfer personal data to them to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.
For most organisations, the most relevant of these will be Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs). There is an interactive toolkit and more information on the ICO (Information Commission Office) website.