The Retailer Winter Edition 2022

WI NT ER 202 2

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Within the UK the Office for Product Safety and Standards was formed to provide leadership and management of product safety incidents. Local enforce ment of product safety is still carried out by Trading Standards Professionals. ”

Divergence is not too much of an issue if you manufacture, trade and market exclusivelywithin Great Britain (GB). In this case, youwill usually only need to complywith GB law. As has been much reported Northern Ireland is subject to the Northern Ireland protocol. According to the BBC “the protocol allows lorries to deliver goods without having paperwork and goods checked when they cross the border from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland”. Goods offered for sale in Northern Ireland, therefore, need to meet European Union Regulations. We are in a situ ation where rules in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) differ from Northern Ireland. This is causing issues for retailers who have a base in GB but sell to consumers within Northern Ireland. For example these retailers may have to show compliance with two sets of identical standards (GB and EU), which can sometimes be at considerable expense for the manufacturer or retailer. If, however you are based in GB andwish to sell to consumers in Northern Ireland or the EU you may start to notice that the rules and regulations have changed. From January 2023 certain goods that used to require manufacturers to affix the CE mark, will now require a UK conformity assessment (UKCA) mark. Now, most UKCA and CE requirements are broadly the same. We would be surprised if in the future this continues to be the case. One area we may begin to see divergence is within compliance QR codes. GB is currently considering whether instead of products bearing lots of different compliance codes on products (UKCA, CE for example) a QR code could instead take consumers and enforce ment authorities to a single web page. This page would contain all the required legal, compliance and environmental information. Other areas where divergence is starting to take place is around medical devices and chemicals. Retailers are experiencing all sorts of issues relating to trade, price increases, shortage of goods and people to make and sell those goods. Divergence may be another headache for them. As one retailer told us “Trying to keep up with all the rules and regulation changes inside and outside of GB is a full-time job”. The BRC has proposed to the government those resources are put in place to ensure that GB manufacturers and retailers are kept up to speed with regulatory changes around products. This doesn’t have to be complex; it could work as a regularly updated table showing GB and EU differences. The last words will have to go to Lord Frost the ex-Brexit minister who told an audience in November that divergence from EU rules was now a “national necessity”. He said: “To some extent unnoticed, we’re making changes to the nuts and bolts of some of the core frameworks underpinning the economy.”

for more information on BRC Buying Community visit our website.

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