British firms can continue to use CE mark

Published on: 2nd August 2023

Reversing its previous advice, the Department for Business and Trade has announced an indefinite extension to the use of the CE mark for businesses.

As part of the government’s ‘drive for smarter regulation’, the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) has confirmed indefinite CE mark recognition beyond the previously announced 2024 deadline. The government says this extension will cut business costs, time required to place products on the market and will also benefit consumers

The extension to the use of CE marking for businesses applies to 18 regulations owned by DBT. It comes following extensive engagement with industry, as part of a wider package of ‘smarter regulations’ . British firms will be able to continue the use of CE marking alongside UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed).

The government said the Business Secretary has acted to avoid a cliff-edge moment in December 2024 when UKCA was set for entry, and claims this intervention will ‘ensure businesses no longer face uncertainty over the regulations and can cut back on unnecessary costs, freeing them up to focus on innovation and growth’.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “The government is tackling red tape, cutting burdens for business and creating certainty for firms. We have listened to industry, and we are taking action to deliver. By extending CE mark use across the UK, firms can focus their time and money on creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Stephen Phipson, CEO of manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK, commented: “This is a pragmatic and common sense decision that manufacturers will very much welcome and support. This announcement will help safeguard the competitiveness of manufacturers and aid the UK as a destination for investment.”

He added that the move should bring more confidence to doing business in the UK and said the government had recognised the need to work with the reality of doing business. “Make UK has worked extensively with UK government, pushing hard for this decision, and we are pleased the ongoing engagement has delivered this positive outcome.”

Some experts have pointed out that it’s now harder for UK firms to obtain CE marks because UK certifying bodies are no longer recognised. Instead, firms have to locate and deal with an EU-based body, and it has not been confirmed whether this situation will change.

The government had previously maintained that the new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking should replace the CE mark for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) following UK leaving the EU. However, the UKCA mark would not have been recognised in the EU, so would have been required only for goods to be sold in Great Britain. Naturally, this would have placed additional demands on companies, and, among many other industry bodies, The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) intervened to call for the government to give companies reasonable time to comply with the guidance.

The government now says the extension will provide businesses with flexibility and choice to use either the UKCA or CE approach to sell products in Great Britain.

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