United Kingdom - Country Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade

Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.

Last published date: 2021-09-22

The UK has left the EU and the transition period has now ended. This means that the UK has now left the EU Single Market and Customs Union, although EU standards for goods continue to apply in Northern Ireland following the entry into force of the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) on January 1, 2021. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement agreed in December 2020, changes the basis of the UK relationship with its European neighbours from EU law to free trade and friendly cooperation

Overview

The British Standards Institute (BSI) is appointed by the UK Government as the national standards body, holds the Royal Charter, and represents UK interests at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI). Formed in 1901, BSI was the world’s first national standards body.  

As the UK National Standards Body, BSI helps improve the quality and safety of products, services and systems by enabling the creation of standards and encouraging their use.  BSI represent UK economic and social interests across all European and international standards organizations and in the development of business information solutions for British organizations of all sizes and sectors.

BSI publish over 3,100 standards each year, underpinned by a collaborative approach, engaging with industry experts, government bodies, trade associations, businesses of all sizes and consumers to develop standards that reflect good business practice, protect consumers and facilitate international trade.
Standards

The global business landscape is constantly evolving and staying on top of geopolitical, technological and cultural change is a challenge for every business with international interests.  A strategic approach, using international standards, enables businesses to capitalize on the benefits of international trade, while strengthening business operations, protecting brand reputation and managing change.

International standards from ISO and IEC are a cornerstone of the WTO rules-based trading system. They are adopted through BSI as British Standards to create a common language for trading partners: they deliver simpler market access globally. The majority of British standards are international, actively worked on by UK stakeholders, helping to equip all businesses, including SMEs, for international trade.

Testing, Inspection, and Certification

BSI offers a range of testing and certification services, including new product development, pre-assessment, gap analysis, batch testing, and full compliance testing. BSI – a Notified Body for CE marking, an Approved Body for UKCA marking, and owner of BSI Kitemark certification – has one of the widest testing and certification capabilities in the world giving you confidence in your products and helping you gain access to global markets.

Publication of Technical Regulation

CE marking is moving to UKCA marking in Great Britain. The UKCA marking came into effect on January 1, 2021. However, to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, you will still be able to use the CE marking until January 1, 2023, in most cases.  You can still use the CE marking until then, but you must use the UKCA marking after January 1, 2023. From the beginning of 2023 only products with UKCA marking will be accepted in Great Britain. There will be differing regulatory models for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and for Northern Ireland.  

Since January 1, 2021, the UK no longer aligns with the rules or obligations of the EU, with the exception of Northern Ireland, which continues to follow certain regulations.  More detail of how this affects standards can be found in the related information section under product regulation, where you will also find information on designated standards.  

Resources available on the BSI Group website will help you with UKCA marking issues concerning product certification.

From January 1, 2021, the UK has new laws that regulate the safety and performance of certain products. From medical devices to machinery, electrical equipment to construction products, anyone looking to sell one of these products on the market in the UK will need to be aware of these changes. 

Contact Information

For questions linked to certification issues (i.e CE or UKCA marking) please visit BSI Group. 

Phone number: +011 44 345 080 9000

Address: 
BSI Group
389 Chiswick High Road
London W4 4AL
standards.policy@bsigroup.com 

For Specific inquiries
London W4 4AL

standards.policy@bsigroup.com

For Specific enquiries