Does Brexit change your position as a distributor?
A new draft treaty has been reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom (UK) for a large part of the conditions surrounding the Brexit. There has been agreements on the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and further UK citizens in the EU and the financial settlement of UK withdrawal. For the time being, the United Kingdom will remain part of the customs union regulations and internal market until January 1, 2021, and EU citizens can continue to settle in the United Kingdom.
A transitional phase has also been agreed upon, which will end on 31 December 2020 with the existing trade agreements remaining in force. During the aforementioned transitional period, the United Kingdom will no longer have any say in new or amended EU legislation. During the transition period, the UK may close new trade deals, the 750 international agreements in which UK was involved together with EU will expire.
The risk Europe is faced with such as a hard separation decreases. From the official date of withdrawal, a UK-based manufacturer or importer shall no longer be considered as an operator established in the Union. As a result, the status of a European company changes from first a distributor to then an importer. The European company will have to comply with the specific obligations that apply to a European importer. By contrast, a UK company is required to take an Authorized Representative established in the European Union.
Manufacturers must take the necessary steps to ensure that their designated Authorized Representative or responsible persons are established in the EU from the date of their revocation. From the date of the revocation, the notified bodies of the UK lose their status as EU registered bodies. As such, UK authorities will not be able to perform conformity assessment tasks under EU product legislation from the date of the revocation. Operators should take the necessary steps to ensure that, where the applicable Conformity Assessment Procedures require the intervention of a Notified Body (NoBo), they have the certificates issued by a NoBo in order to demonstrate that their products are placed on the market as being from the recording date.
If, before the date of withdrawal, economic operators hold certificates issued by a NoBo in the UK and intend to continue offering the product concerned from the date of withdrawal in the EU, they shall either organise a new certificate from a NoBo in the EU or a transfer to a NoBo in the EU.