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Brexit - changes to the tariff and CE marking regimes on 1 January 2021

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Please click here for an up to date guidance note following the EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement



Tom Pemberton considers the changes to the tariff and CE marking regimes on 1 January 2021.

All businesses which rely on the import or export of goods from or to the EU27 need to be prepared for the following changes to the tariff and CE marking regimes which will have effect from 1 January 2021.


It is well known that if the government does not strike a deal with the EU our trade with the EU27 countries will be on WTO terms.   

The government has provided a useful tracking tool which shows the UK Global Tariff (“UKGT”) that will apply to imports into the UK from 1 January 2021, whether from the EU27, or the rest of the world.    This enables a search to be made against a commodity code/product description to find out the tariff which will be applied at import of that product. 

It is important to note that the UKGT will apply only to the extent that the UK does not have preferential agreements in place with a trading partner before the end of the year.  These tariffs will accordingly apply to our imports from the EU27 if we do not have an over-arching trade agreement with the EU by 31 December.

CE marking and the new UK UKCA mark

After 1 January 2021, it will continue to be a requirement for goods placed on the EU market to have the CE mark by way of confirmation that they comply with EU product regulations.  

In the absence of a trade deal which provides for the continuing recognition of UK notified bodies who are currently authorised to issue conformity assessment certificates, the EU’s current position is that those bodies will lose their status immediately after the UK leaves the EU.  Export businesses will therefore need to ensure that any mandatory third-party conformity assessment is carried out by an EU-recognised notified body in relation to goods that are intended for export to the EU27 countries after that date. 

UK Conformity Assessment

The government has published guidance on CE marking, including the new UKCA mark which will be the conformity assessment marking for Great Britain  from 1 January 2021 for most goods.   Northern Ireland will be subject to another conformity assessment regime from that date, to comply with the “no hard border on the island of Ireland” provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The good news is that CE marking will continue to be accepted on most goods which are placed on the UK market until 31 December 2021.  However, the government advises that suppliers should look to use the UKCA marking as soon as possible.   

It is important to be aware that CE marked goods can only be placed on the market in Great Britain while UK and EU product conformity requirements remain the same. This will be the case on 1 January 2021 and the government has advised there are no UK plans to diverge at this time. However there is likely to be divergence in future as the respective EU and UK regulatory requirements evolve. 

If you would like further advice about the tariff and CE marking regimes and the end of the transition period then please contact Tom Pemberton, Partner, Construction at or on +44 (0)20 7421 7908.

This guide is for general information only and should not be relied upon as providing specific legal advice.