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UK Government u-turns on phasing out “CE” product safety marking

Published on 25 October 2023

The question

What product safety marks can be used on products in the UK?

The key takeaway

The “CE” safety mark will continue to be recognised in the UK beyond the original cut-off date of December 2024. This marks a shift in policy which aims to ease the burden on businesses and create more certainty that will allow for continued innovation and growth.

The background

The “CE” product safety marking appears on many products traded on the extended Single Market in the European Economic Area (EEA). The mark signifies that products sold in the EEA have been assessed to meet high safety, health and environmental protection requirements. In January 2021, following Brexit, the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) mark replaced the “CE” product safety marking on products being sold in the UK. However, the CE marking would continue to be recognised until December 2024 in order to ease the transition for businesses.

The development

In August of this year, following detailed engagement with UK industry the UK Government announced an indefinite extension to the recognition of the “CE” product safety marking in Great Britain. UK businesses highlighted that no longer recognising the CE mark would likely lead to regulatory uncertainty as well as higher costs. The Government hopes that the extension will ease the burden on businesses by cutting barriers and red tape which will then allow for a continued focus on innovation. This development means that businesses placing products into the EU market are no longer required to use the UKCA mark but can still choose to do so (for example if there manufacturing processes have already been updated to include the new mark). Going forward businesses will have more flexibility regarding how they certify that their products meet the appropriate standards for the UK market. This also means that businesses can continue to be aligned with the EU.

Why is this important?

This development highlights the UK Government’s continued commitment to easing the regulatory burden on businesses in an effort to foster innovation. Businesses will now have more freedom and flexibility as to how they bring their products to the UK market. Additionally, this means that manufacturers will not have to make any significant changes to their processes to ensure compliance.

Any practical tips?

Businesses that sell products in the UK and the EU should be mindful of their continued use of the UKCA mark which is not valid in the EU. Additionally, businesses that have already made the switch to using the UKCA mark should consider if it may be more beneficial in the long term to switch back to the CE mark so that there need not be two separate safety marks used for the UK and the EU.

Autumn 2023