BREXIT UPDATE – 9 SEPTEMBER 2019

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 received Royal Assent today, having passed through the House of Commons and then the House of Lords on Friday, 6 September 2019.

In short, this law places a legal requirement upon the UK Prime Minister to request that the current Brexit date of
31 October 2019, be postponed until 31 January 2020, where a withdrawal deal cannot be agreed by the 19 October 2019.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement does contain protections for UK Notified Bodies for a transition period. This, or a similar deal, would allow INSPEC International BV to become established as a notified body and for INSPEC International Ltd to gradually transfer certifications.

A postponed Brexit date to 31 January 2020 may also make it possible for INSPEC International BV to achieve notification by this date.

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 28 AUGUST 2019 

The UK Government is urging the European Commission to reopen Brexit talks. UK opposition parties have made clear that they do not want a ‘no-deal’ scenario for the UK.  Together, this would indicate that the UK Government and its opposition are ready and willing to accept a Withdrawal deal or Mutual Recognition Agreement with the EU. 

Industry groups such as the European Safety Federation have written to the European Commission warning of the risk to industry and users within EU-27 if any action to invalidate UK Notified Body type-examination and approval decisions is taken in the event of a ‘no-deal’. 

The European Council’s draft Withdrawal Agreement contained a framework under which Notified Bodies could transfer certification over a period of at least one year. It is understood that the draft Withdrawal Agreement remains the European Commission’s offer in negotiation, and that this framework would mitigate the risk identified by us and industry groups. 

If accepted by UK Government and Parliament, this Agreement would permit maintenance of existing type-examination and approval decisions in the UK beyond 31 October 2019, and a slow but orderly transfer of them to an EU-27 Notified Body. 

A Mutual Recognition Agreement, though unlikely at this period in the negotiation, would permit INSPEC International Ltd to retain its rights to offer Notified Body Services without need to transfer to an EU-27 Notified Body. 

While we have worked diligently to establish INSPEC International BV as a Notified Body within the Netherlands for Summer 2019, we now project that this will take longer than envisioned.  We do project that Accreditation will be gained in October/November 2019, but Notification will follow after 31 October 2019. 

Where an agreement is reached, this will present no immediate problems for continued access to either UK or EU markets.  Should the European Union invalidate UK Notified Body certificates on 1 November 2019, INSPEC International BV will not be in a position to accept transfers and provide type-examination and approval decisions until Notification is granted.

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 11 APRIL 2019 

The UK Government has accepted the EU-27 offer of an exit-date of 31 October 2019, with an option of an earlier departure should a deal be reached. It is now to be understood that, should a no-deal Brexit occur, in which Notified Bodies of the UK are not permitted to provide notified body services, the exit date will be 31 October 2019. 

We understand that the draft Withdrawal Agreement remains the position from which the EU-27 will negotiate, and UK Parliament has voted in an Act in attempt to rule out a no-deal Brexit scenario. Therefore, we believe any deal will include continued Notification for UK Notified Bodies. 

It now appears likely that INSPEC International Ltd will retain its rights to offer Notified Body Services until at least 31 October 2019, or longer should the draft Withdrawal Agreement (or similar agreement) be implemented. 

It is our intention to complete the establishment of INSPEC International BV and we are confident that we will achieve this in Summer 2019. At that time, our customers will be invited to agree to transition their PPE and Marine Equipment certifications from INSPEC International Ltd to INSPEC International BV. 

Should a deal be reached wherein the UK enters into a Mutual Recognition Agreement with the EU-27, which provides for continued UK Notified Body participation within EU product legislation, transition of certification will not be necessary and existing agreements will continue. 

We believe that the political situation is now developing into more collaborative efforts which will protect the market, and consequently that our certification and hence customers’ access to the UK and EU markets will be assured.

BREXIT UPDATE – 29 MARCH 2019

The UK Government has agreed to proceed with the short extension proposed by the EU-27 in negotiation. It is now to be understood that, should a no-deal Brexit occur, in which Notified Bodies of the UK are not permitted to provide notified body services, the exit date will be 12 April 2019. This date however, is also subject to change. 

There will be extensive debates, votes and negotiation during the coming weeks, but we understand that our customers are interested in their ability to place goods on the market.                                   

Please consult the following document for the latest European Commission position on how ‘placing on the market’ may be understood: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/34622

BREXIT UPDATE – 15 FEBRUARY 2019 

To date, INSPEC has been implementing Brexit contingency actions for the notified body work of the INSPEC Certification Services department – namely, personal protective equipment and marine equipment certification services. Other services such as for ISO 9001:2015 and our IC Mark, and other areas of the wider business such as testing, proficiency services and test equipment sales, are unaffected. 

In brief, INSPEC Certification Services has acted to:

  • Register INSPEC International BV in the Netherlands
  • Seek accreditation with Raad van Accreditatie (RvA), the accreditation body of the Netherlands
  • Communicated with notification authorities of the Netherlands, confirming intentions
  • Communicated with legal officers of the European Commission on preparedness and interpretation
  • Communicated with UK departments on preparedness and interpretation
  • Communicated with UK notified bodies, industry and other co-ordination groups. 

INSPEC Certification Services remains confident that we will achieve accreditation with RvA, and subsequent notification with SZW for the Personal Protective Equipment Regulation and with ILT for the Marine Equipment Directive. But we cannot be certain that all of the required processes will be completed by 29 March 2019. 

Despite the arguments within the UK Parliament, UK Industry has forcefully stated that it will not tolerate a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, and we are confident that, before the withdrawal date, agreement will be reached to permit UK notified body activities to continue during a ‘transition period’.  

The European Commission expanded upon their Notice to Stakeholders[i] with the issue of “Questions and Answers Related to the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal From the European Union With Regard to Industrial Products” dated 1 February 2019[ii]

It is our understanding that, while this document and other Notices are not legislative in the form of Decisions, Directives or Regulations, they are the negotiating position of the European Commission. 

If the principles of this guidance are applied - wherein a transition period is not agreed or an agreement concerning continued placement of goods is not reached – then, after the 29 March 2019, Type-examination and Approval decisions (certificates) issued by United Kingdom notified bodies will no longer be accepted by the EU-27 Union Market. Furthermore, in contrast to earlier positions of the European Commission, all certifications will have to be reissued by an EU-27 located notified body. 

The wider global Industry is contesting the European Commission statement that UK certificates will not be accepted post-exit, as it retrospectively nullifies Type-examination and Approval decisions taken by competent bodies, which were monitored by competent accreditation authorities under instruction from relevant authorities within the UK, historically recognised by the European Union. 

However, due to the unlikely event that the Notice to Stakeholders and Q&A is implemented post-exit, we must now explain that it is possible that INSPEC may not achieve formal notification prior to 29 March 2019 - meaning the European Commission, through the EU-27 Member States, may prevent already certified equipment being placed on the EU-27 Union Market, and our PPE and MED certification clients may be without Type-examination and Approval decisions necessary for them to issue their Declarations of Conformity. 

Either through INSPEC International Ltd or INSPEC International BV, we are committed to ensuring that INSPEC Certification Services will be able to provide you with services as a notified body. We will work with you to prepare for the transition of your certification from our UK body to our body in the Netherlands as soon as we are able. 

INSPEC will continue to monitor the Brexit situation, and will inform interested parties upon request, and in response to any significant development. Updates will also be posted on our website. 

INSPEC Certification Services 

[i] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/industrial_products_en_1.pdf

[ii] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/qa_brexit_industrial_products_en.pdf