The National Standards Authority of Ireland provided the following update. The Brexit transition period ended on 31st December 2020 and the UK became a ‘third country’ where EU law no longer applies. The EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA) agreed came into effect.
While the TCA provides for tariff and quota free trade in goods it does not replicate what went before. The seamless trade which existed up to 31st December 2020 has generally ended. This means changes for business buying products from the UK or using UK manufactured products.
What has not changed
All the EU rules that applied to products in 2020 continue to apply unchanged in 2021. UK products must meet any specific requirements set out in Irish Law. Remember that it is the rules where the product is placed on the market that apply, not where
it is manufactured.
Can I continue to sell British products?
Yes, once they have been certified in accordance with EU and Irish legislation. This means that any construction products manufactured in Great Britain can be sold once they meet the requirements of the CPR, including being CE marked if required by the CPR and having a valid EU declaration of performance.
Any electrical devices imported from GB that meet the requirements of the relevant directive (RED, EMC or LVD) can be sold in Ireland if they are CE marked and have a valid EU declaration of conformity.
Compliance for products which are not covered by specific EU regulations e.g., sockets are not covered by EMC, RED or LVD, is determined by other reference documents such as National Standards. The General Product Safety Directive and relevant Irish
legislation and standards apply to any of these products imported into Ireland from Great Britain.
Products that only have the new ‘UKCA’ mark and a UK Declaration of conformity cannot be placed on the EU market, so make sure
that you only buy CE marked products from your British suppliers.
If you import products from GB, you are now an importer and have additional responsibilities that you did not have before, and you should become familiar with these as soon as possible. You can get more information on the responsibilities of an importer in the EU Blue Guide https://ec.europa.eu/growth/
What about Northern Ireland products?
Under the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, EU product legislation continues to apply in Northern Ireland (NI), and NI continues to be treated as if it is part of the EU Single Market. Goods moving between NI and the EU can continue to do so with no significant changes and the responsibilities of economic operators in the EU remain the same as if they are trading within the EU Single Market.
But beware of products bearing a ‘CE UK(NI)’ mark. These products can only be sold in Northern Ireland and cannot be legally placed on the EU market.
Can I sell products that have been certified using British Standards?
There are areas where it is no longer permitted to use a British Standard (BS) to demonstrate conformity or performance. There are other areas where there has been no change in the use of BS. As a general guideline, in areas where member states have competency, there is no restriction on the use of BS’s once they are permitted under national legislation. A range of standards are referenced in Irish legislation including International standards (ISO), European Standards (EN), Irish Standards (I.S.), national standards from other countries (including BS).
The EU Commission has indicated that the use of a BS on an EU declaration of performance where a harmonised European Standard must be used for product certification is no longer permitted.
Where Irish legislation permits or mandates the use of a British Standards for areas not covered by EU law there should be no change to their recognition use in Ireland.
If you import products from GB based suppliers, you will need to consider the impacts of customs processes and potential supply chain disruption. If your suppliers rely on certification or conformity assessment from UK based certification bodies or UK accredited test laboratories, you will need to check that their certification is acceptable under EU or Irish law.
Where can I get information?
For general information on Brexit readiness in the area of standards and certification – www.nsai.ie/brexit/brexit-readiness/
Important EU rules for products sold in hardware trade:
This Business Support article featured in the March/April 2021 issue of The Hardware Journal.