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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.