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, many questions 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. Some of it results from the complexity of the EU-UK relationship. I hope to add some clarity to this situation, at least regarding the impact on third-country manufacturers and CE Marking.
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 cooperating 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 the body’s number to the product,
- draw up and sign the EU declaration of conformity.
Manufacturers outside the EU may be obliged to have an Authorised Representative by the Directives applicable to their products. Commercial representatives such as authorized distributors or agents, should not be confused with the “authorized representative” in the meaning of Union harmonization legislation.
Having an Authorised Representative entails specific contractual obligations. The EU Blue Guide  can help you understand those obligations and the relevant provisions of 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 organizations providing these services for 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 , , , 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 . However, some CE Marking Directives include explicit requirements regarding Authorised Representatives. In contrast, others like the Machinery Directive, have implicit requirements that result in third-country manufacturers needing to have an Authorised Representative based in the EU.
If you have a contract with an Authorised Representative based in the UK, your CE Mark will no longer be valid on 1-Apr-2019 unless you make other arrangements .
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. When an individual acts as an Authorised Representative, they can 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, they can legitimately offer Authorised Representative services.
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 European Commission, “Commission Notice — The “Blue Guide” on the implementation of EU products rules 2016“, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018.
 “When did Britain decide to join the European Union?“, 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].
 “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].
 European Commission, “Commission Notice — The “Blue Guide” on the implementation of EU products rules 2016“, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2016.
 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.
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