» UKAS and Brexit
Following the triggering of Article 50 on March 29, 2017, UKAS has been working to ensure that those within Government dealing with Brexit are aware of the importance of accreditation to the national economy, and also to trade with the EU and internationally. Regular meetings are being held with Ministers and officials in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). Following consultation with customers and stakeholders, the key messages being communicated to Government include:
- Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is vitally important for UK business that UKAS’ recognition as the UK National Accreditation Body continues.
- Maintaining European and international recognition through continuing membership of EA, ILAC and IAF is extremely important for UKAS, for UKAS’ customers and for users of accredited services.
- Continued access to notified bodies, or other mutually recognised bodies, will be important for UK businesses.
- If new trade agreements are required between the UK and the EU, consideration will need to be given to how any required testing or inspection is carried out and how the competence of the organisations is assessed. Accreditation is likely to be required for this purpose.
- It will be essential for UK industry that accreditation is given due recognition in any new international trade agreements that emerge.
UKAS has prepared a Leaflet outlining the implications of Brexit for accreditation and conformity assessment and setting out these key objectives. This has been distributed to a wide range of Government Ministers and officials.
- Assurances received, including at Ministerial level, that the principles of EU Regulation 765/2008, which provides the legal framework for accreditation, will be adopted into UK legislation by the EU Withdrawal Act and that our appointment as the National Accreditation Body will continue.
- The European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) has confirmed that UKAS can continue as a member during the implementation period agreed until December 2020 (see the Prime Minister’s letter to business below). EA has also agreed to give further consideration to changes to the membership criteria to ensure that UKAS can continue as a member body beyond this date.
- The agreement of the implementation period also provides certainty that the work of UK Notified Bodies will continue to be recognised during this time.
- The Government has confirmed its intention to seek to ensure that ‘products only need to undergo one series of approvals to show that they meet the required regulatory standards’ and that ‘a comprehensive system of mutual recognition’ will be needed to achieve this (see the reference to the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech and the Brexit White Paper below).
- Discussions with DIT officials preparing for trade agreements with countries outside the EU during which the principle of mutual recognition of accredited conformity assessment has been accepted.
As the situation develops and discussions with UK government and other relevant authorities progress, these pages will keep you updated on the latest information regarding UKAS and accreditation.
- Brexit White Paper published including the Government proposal for a free trade area with the EU and its commitment to mutual recognition of accredited conformity assessment (12 July 2018)
- European Union (Withdrawal) Act enacted (26 June 2018)
- Lord Henley's response to a Parliamentary Question confirming that UK Notified Bodies will continue to be recognised during the implementation period (20 June 2018)
- Prime Minister's letter to business confirming agreement of the terms of the implementation period (23 March 2018)
- DEXEU announcement on agreement of implementation period (19 March 2018)
- Prime Minister, Theresa May, acknowledges the importance of mutual recognition in regulatory approvals in her Mansion House speech on 2nd March 2018.
- An open letter to businesses from Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis, Chancellor Philip Hammond, and Business Secretary Greg Clark setting out their plans for an implementation period following Brexit to state that the intention is for the terms of trade to remain unchanged during the implementation period, based on the existing structure of EU rules and regulations. (Jan 18)
- European Commission notice on the ‘Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of industrial products’
- UKAS seeks assurance that the requirements of EU Regulation 765/2008 (the legislation that governs accreditation across the EU and which provides the basis for UKAS’ appointment as National Accreditation Body) will be adopted into UK law by the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. (Dec 17)
- Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union addresses the UKAS Annual Lunch confirming the Government position on UKAS’ role in supporting the UK economy. (Oct 17)
- UKAS contributes to Brexit discussions through meetings with DexEU and DIT (Mar 17)
- UKAS Brexit statement (June 16)