It seems that an important announcement from the European Commission about the accredited testing for CE Marking in the post-Brexit era has gone somewhat unnoticed by the AI trade. This announcement has important and potentially costly ramifications for manufacturers, particularly UK manufacturers, who wish to sell their products outside British shores.
On 16 January, the European Commission announced that as of Brexit Day – 19 March 2019 – firms wishing to continue placing products on the EU market will no longer be able to use conformity assessments carried out by a UK Notified Body to achieve CE certification. Instead, products must be tested and accredited by a Notified Body within one of the remaining 27 EU countries.
This change to the system of free movement of goods across national borders without the need for additional certification, testing or border checks will clearly have a major impact for companies such as Astra whose products have been tested by the UK test houses which will lose their EU Notified Body status as the UK leaves the EU. It also raises the farcical situation where UK manufacturers will be forced to send their products abroad to be tested and certified, in order to sell them as CE Marked product in the UK, where they were produced.
This announcement raises a number of questions. Will products carrying a CE Mark after testing in the UK now need to be re-tested, possibly at calamitous additional cost? How will this affect the legal status of life-critical products such as fire doors? Where will this leave industry schemes such as Certifire?
It would seem that, at the moment, our industry, along with many others which rely on CE conformity to trade across the world, has no Plan B to address this situation.
Philip Gallagher, MD, Astra Door Controls