Media and events

No Deal’ Brexit: UK Government Guidance to Business

Thursday, 27 September 2018

On 23 August, the UK Government issued a series of notices to provide guidance to businesses on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. These included:

Overview on preparations for a ‘no deal’ scenario
Applying for EU-funded programmes
Importing and exporting
Labelling products and making them safe
Regulating medicines and medical equipment
Studying in the UK or EU
Workplace rights

Among these, the notices specifically relevant for the cosmetics industry are those on importing and exporting, with two notices of particular interest:

Trading with the EU if there is no Brexit deal: informing businesses of the implications for the trade of goods between the UK and EU countries and the actions they may want to consider to mitigate potential negative impacts;

Classifying your goods in the UK Trade Tariff if there is no Brexit deal: which sets out the way in which businesses will identify their goods correctly, in order to establish what duties and rules apply for the declaration process of exporting to the EU or importing into the UK from the EU.

On 13 September the UK Government released new technical notices to provide information on what a no-deal could mean to economic operators and the public.
These papers are particularly important for non-UK businesses (or non-UK based responsible person) exporting goods to the UK market. The most relevant paper for the cosmetics industry is:

Appointing nominated persons to your business if there’s no Brexit deal: specifically mentions the Cosmetics Regulation and clarifies that

For cosmetics, responsible persons based in an EU country will no longer be recognised by the UK after March 2019 (Regulation (EC) N 1223/2009 is the main EU legislation covering cosmetics and covers the role of the responsible person). Businesses wishing to place cosmetics on the UK market will need to appoint a UK-based responsible person. This is due to specific legal duties assigned to the responsible person and their importance on ensuring the safety of products placed on the market.
Additional relevant papers are:

Trading under the mutual recognition principle if there’s no Brexit deal: which clarifies that non-UK businesses exporting non-harmonised goods to the UK will need to ensure that the goods meet UK national requirements, regardless of whether they were previously lawfully marketed in another EU country or in the UK.

Trading goods regulated under the ‘New Approach’ if there’s no Brexit deal: relevant for other types of product, e.g. toys.

In the papers, the UK Government insists on the fact that a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario) remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome.
However, it is important to keep in mind that even if a deal is agreed with the EU, it may not cover all technical challenges that will be faced by the cosmetics industry.