CE, Brexit, and Authorised Representatives

Brexit: UK and EU Flags against a blue sky

CE, Brexit and Authorised Representatives

We’re just passing the T-1 year mark on the UK’s jour­ney towards leav­ing the EU. Some of my read­ers are “Leav­ers”, while oth­ers are “Remain­ers”, but for every­one liv­ing in the UK or doing busi­ness with the UK, there are many ques­tions that remain unclear. To be fair, some of the lack of clar­ity is due to the nego­ti­ation pro­cess that Prime Min­is­ter May’s gov­ern­ment is engaged in, and some of it is the res­ult of the com­plex­ity in the EU-UK rela­tion­ship. I hope to add some clar­ity to this situ­ation, at least as far as the impact on third-coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers and CE Mark­ing is con­cerned.

What is an Authorised Representative?

Wheth­er or not a man­u­fac­turer is based in the EU, they may use an Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive to carry out cer­tain tasks, such as [1, 3.2]:

  • keep­ing the EU declar­a­tion of con­form­ity and the tech­nic­al doc­u­ment­a­tion at the dis­pos­al of nation­al sur­veil­lance author­it­ies and coöper­ate with them at their request,
  • provid­ing that Nation­al Author­it­ies with all the inform­a­tion and doc­u­ment­a­tion neces­sary to demon­strate the con­form­ity of a product,
  • tak­ing actions to elim­in­ate the risks posed by products covered by their man­date,
  • affix the CE mark­ing and noti­fied body’s num­ber to the product,
  • draw up and sign the EU declar­a­tion of con­form­ity.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers loc­ated out­side the EU may be obliged to have an Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive by the Dir­ect­ives applic­able to their products. Com­mer­cial rep­res­ent­at­ives such as author­ised dis­trib­ut­ors or agents, should not be con­fused with the “author­ised rep­res­ent­at­ive” in the mean­ing of Uni­on har­mon­isa­tion legis­la­tion.

Hav­ing an Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive entails spe­cif­ic con­trac­tu­al oblig­a­tions. The EU Blue Guide [1] can help you to under­stand those oblig­a­tions and the pro­vi­sions that are rel­ev­ant to the agree­ment. Since I am not a law­yer, I can’t provide you with spe­cif­ic leg­al advice on this top­ic but an EU con­tracts law­yer can help you with the neces­sary arrange­ments. Many of the organ­iz­a­tions that have been provid­ing these ser­vices for many years have ready-made con­tracts that ful­fil the require­ments and can get you set-up quickly.

How will Brexit affect your CE Mark?

Since the UK joined the European Eco­nom­ic Com­munity (EEC) on 1-Jan-1973 [2], [3], [4], the rela­tion­ship has become a com­plex one, and dis­en­tangling this rela­tion­ship is going to take some time.

On the sur­face, third-coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers are not required to have an EU-based Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive [1], how­ever, some CE Mark­ing Dir­ect­ives include expli­cit require­ments regard­ing Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ives, while oth­ers like the Machinery Dir­ect­ive, have impli­cit require­ments that res­ult in third coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers need to have an Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive based in the EU.

If you have a con­tract with an Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive cur­rently based in the UK, your CE Mark will no longer be val­id on 1-Apr-2019 unless you make oth­er arrange­ments [5].

How will Brexit affect my Authorised Representative?

Since the UK and North­ern Ire­land will be leav­ing the EU at the end of March, 2019, any organ­iz­a­tion that offers Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive ser­vices will no longer be able to meet the require­ment for being based in the EU. Where an indi­vidu­al is act­ing as an Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive, they have the option to move from the UK to any oth­er EU Mem­ber State before the UK offi­cially exits the uni­on. Where an organ­iz­a­tion is provid­ing an Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive ser­vice, they have the option to move their cor­por­ate headquar­ters to any oth­er EU Mem­ber mem­ber state. Once they can show that they are based in an EU coun­try, then they can legit­im­ately offer Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive ser­vices again.

Need help with CE Mark­ing? I can help! Con­tact me at +1 (519) 650‑4753 or by email.

References

[1]     European Com­mis­sion, “Com­mis­sion Notice — The ‘Blue Guide’ on the imple­ment­a­tion of EU products rules 2016″, Pub­lic­a­tions Office of the European Uni­on, Lux­em­bourg, 2018.

[2]     “When did Bri­tain decide to join the European Uni­on? – UK in a chan­ging Europe”, Ukandeu.ac.uk, 2018. [Online]. Avail­able: http://ukandeu.ac.uk/fact-figures/when-did-britain-decide-to-join-the-european-union/. [Accessed: 30- Mar- 2018].

[3]     “BBC News – A timeline of the EU”, News.bbc.co.uk, 2018. [Online]. Avail­able: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3583801.stm. [Accessed: 30- Mar- 2018].

[4]     European Com­mis­sion, “Com­mis­sion Notice — The ‘Blue Guide’ on the imple­ment­a­tion of EU products rules 2016″, Pub­lic­a­tions Office of the European Uni­on, Lux­em­bourg, 2016.

[5]     DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR INTERNAL MARKET, INDUSTRY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMEs, “NOTICE TO STAKEHOLDERS — WITHDRAWAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EU RULES IN THE FIELD OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS”, European Com­mis­sion, Brus­sels, 2018.

Author: Doug Nix

Doug Nix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. (http://www.complianceinsight.ca) in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Senior Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog. Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity. For more see Doug's LinkedIn profile.