Placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland
Last updated 13 August 2021
This guidance is about placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland.
There's different guidance if you're:
If you have already placed an individual product on the EU, EEA or the UK market (either in Northern Ireland or Great Britain) before 1 January 2021, you do not need to do anything.
EEA states include any country in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
These individual goods can continue to circulate on either market until they reach their end user and do not need to comply with the changes that took effect from 1 January 2021. This guidance explains what you need to do for any goods you're placing on the Northern Ireland market after 1 January 2021.
A fully manufactured (individual) good is 'placed on the market' when a written or verbal agreement (or offer of an agreement) to transfer ownership or possession or other property rights in the product. This does not require physical transfer of the good.
You can usually provide proof of placing on the market on the basis of any relevant document ordinarily used in business transactions, including:
- contracts of sale concerning goods which have already been manufactured and meet the legal requirements
- documents concerning the shipping of goods for distribution
The relevant economic operator (whether manufacturer, importer or distributor) bears the burden of proof for demonstrating that the good was placed on the market before 1 January 2021.
Check which rules apply
The Northern Ireland Protocol came into force on 1 January 2021. For as long as it is in force, Northern Ireland will align with relevant EU rules relating to the placing on the market of manufactured goods.
What you need to do depends on the type of goods you are placing on the market. This page covers goods often known as new approach goods, which are a range of consumer and commercial products that often require the use of the CE marking to demonstrate conformity with the relevant technical requirements.
There are different rules for:
- goods regulated under the old approach
- goods covered by national rules (non-harmonised)
- certain other goods, such as medical devices and civil explosives
Speak to your solicitor or trade association if you're unsure which regulatory framework applies to your goods.
Old approach goods
EU rules continue to apply to most old approach goods in Northern Ireland, except for aerospace goods where UK rules apply. These old approach goods are subject to specific arrangements which are covered separately:
Goods covered by national rules (non-harmonised)
You must make sure that your goods meet UK rules, including any specific rules that apply in Northern Ireland. You can place your goods on the market in Northern Ireland if:
- your good is not subject to specific UK rules that prevent you from placing it on the Northern Ireland market
- your product has been legally marketed in the EU (including EEA member states)
Check the UK product safety rules to find out what you need to do.
EU rules will continue to apply in Northern Ireland for the other goods listed below. These goods are subject to specific rules:
- medical devices
- rail interoperability constituents
- construction products
- civil explosives
- products requiring ecodesign and energy labelling
- tobacco products
Check if you need to change your conformity assessment or marking
You need to use a conformity marking if you are placing certain goods on the Northern Ireland market.
In Northern Ireland, EU conformity markings continue to be used to show that goods meet EU rules. For most manufactured goods, this is the CE marking, but there are some other markings for specific products (such as the wheel marking or Pi mark).
If you are using a UK body to carry out mandatory third-party conformity assessment, then you also need to apply a UKNI marking (sometimes referred to as the UK(NI) mark or the UK(NI) indication).
You never apply the UKNI marking on its own - it always accompanies an EU conformity marking, such as the CE marking. Goods with both the CE and UKNI marking cannot be placed on the market in the EU.
You do not need to make any changes if both of the following apply:
- you are a manufacturer based in Northern Ireland (or are the manufacturer's authorised representative)
- you currently mark your goods on the basis of a supplier's declaration of conformity, sometimes known as 'self-declaration'
The UKCA marking cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market. For more information, check the guidance for:
When to use the CE marking
You can apply the CE marking to your good if any of the following apply:
- you currently apply the CE marking to your good on the basis of self-declaration, as required by the relevant product legislation
- any mandatory third-party conformity assessment was carried out by an EU-recognised notified body (including a body in a country with which the EU has a relevant mutual recognition agreement)
In these circumstances, goods with the CE marking can be placed on the market in NI and the EU.
Find out how to use the CE marking.
When to use the UKNI marking alongside the CE marking
You need to use the UKNI marking (alongside the CE marking) if all of the following apply:
- you are placing certain goods (mostly those goods subject to the CE marking) on the Northern Ireland market
- your goods require mandatory third-party conformity assessment
- you are planning to use a UK body to carry out those conformity assessments
You cannot use the UKNI marking if either of the following apply:
- you are placing goods on the market in the EU
- you are planning to use an EU body to carry out mandatory third-party conformity assessments
Find out how to use the UKNI marking.
The UK Market Conformity Assessment Bodies (UKMCAB) database lists all bodies which can provide conformity assessment for the UK market.
Northern Ireland's unfettered access to the rest of the UK
The UK government will guarantee unfettered access for Northern Ireland's businesses to the whole of the UK market, without the need for additional approvals before placing goods on the market in the rest of the UK. You will be able to place qualifying Northern Ireland goods on the market in Great Britain based on the conformity markings you use in Northern Ireland.
For example, as the CE and CE & UKNI markings will be valid in Northern Ireland, products with these markings can be placed on the market in Great Britain if they are a qualifying Northern Ireland good.
Further information is available on placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain from 1 January 2021.
Appoint an authorised person
Authorised representatives can be based in Northern Ireland or the EU for placing goods on the market in Northern Ireland and the EU.
From 16 July 2021, new rules have come into force and some businesses may need to appoint an authorised representative in the EU or Northern Ireland to carry out compliance functions if there is no-one in the supply chain in those areas who can carry out the functions.
Check your legal responsibilities
You are responsible for ensuring your product complies with the relevant EU rules and for drawing up documentation such as the declaration of conformity. You can delegate some of the duties to an authorised representative – you will need to check the specific regulations that apply to confirm what can and cannot be delegated.
Northern Ireland-based importers, distributors and suppliers
You'll become an 'importer' if you're the one bringing goods for the first time into Northern Ireland from either Great Britain or another non-EU country and placing them on the Northern Ireland market. You need to agree whether you or your supplier will take on the role of 'importer' (for the purposes of relevant EU rules).
If you are an 'importer', you will need to make sure:
- goods meet the relevant rules
- goods are labelled with your importer's details. These include the company's name, or registered trade mark, and a contact address
- the correct conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and that goods have the correct conformity markings
- the manufacturer has drawn up the correct technical documentation and complied with the labelling requirements
- you maintain a copy of the declaration of conformity for a period of 10 years
- the product is accompanied by instructions for use in a language easily understood by the end-users
Fulfilment service providers
If you are a fulfilment service provider, you may need to fulfil new compliance responsibilities from 16 July 2021.
If you are a Northern Ireland business placing goods from outside the UK on the market in Great Britain, you will become an importer under GB rules. This includes goods that have been supplied to you (as a distributor) from the EU market that you are now selling in Great Britain. See placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain from 1 January 2021.
For more information and a list of guides on specific product safety regulations, see product safety for businesses: A to Z of industry guidance.
Relevant EU legislation
The table below lists the current EU legislation for specific goods in scope of this guidance.
|EU legislation||NI legislation|
|Toy Safety - Directive 2009/48/EC||Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011|
|Recreational craft and personal watercraft - Directive 2013/53/EU||Recreational Craft Regulations 2017|
|Simple Pressure Vessels - Directive 2014/29/EU||Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 2016|
|Electromagnetic Compatibility - Directive 2014/30/EU||Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016|
|Low Voltage Directive 2014/35||Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016|
|Non-automatic Weighing Instruments - Directive 2014/31/EU||Non-automatic Weighing Instruments Regulations 2016|
|Measuring Instruments - Directive 2014/32/EU||Measuring Instruments Regulations 2016|
|Lifts - Directive 2014/33/EU||Lifts Regulations 2016|
|ATEX - Directive 2014/34/EU||Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2017|
|Radio equipment - Directive 2014/53/EU||Radio Equipment Regulations 2017|
|Pressure equipment - Directive 2014/68/EU||Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016|
|Personal protective equipment - Regulation (EU) 2016/425||Regulation (EU) 2016/425 + Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018|
|Gas appliances - Regulation (EU) 2016/426||Regulation (EU) 2016/426 + Gas Appliances (Enforcement) and Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2018|
|Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC||Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008|
|Outdoor Noise Directive 2000/14/EC||Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations 2001|
|Directive 92/42/EEC hot-water boilers and Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC||Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010|
|Energy Labelling Regulation (EU) 2017/1369||Energy Labelling Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 (as retained in UK law and amended)|
|Restriction of the Use of certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) - 2011/65/EU||The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012|
|Directive 2013/29/EU - Pyrotechnic Articles||The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015|
First published 10 November 2020