Trading Standards Guidance - Brexit

The United Kingdom has left the European Union (commonly known as Brexit) and the one-year transition period came to an end on 31 December 2020. 

On 1 January 2021 the UK left the European Single Market and businesses will be subject to a number of changes to the way they distribute and sell goods, regardless of the outcome of any EU-UK trade agreement. 

For most general retailers, the product regulation changes brought about by Brexit will be minor as the key product safety compliance responsibilities will fall on businesses higher up the supply chain, including any importer into the UK or a UK-based manufacturer.

However, for some perhaps more specialist retailers, new rules and obligations may well apply. Businesses who have sourced goods from Europe (EU and EEA) and brought these items exclusively into the UK for resale will find their responsibilities changed. Some retailers, who were previously classed as distributors of goods only and had no product conformity duties other than to monitor the safety of products they supply, may well now have new responsibilities as the first importer of those items into the UK. This change of status will have legal consequences and introduce new liabilities.

Changes to the way UK regulates goods outside the EU will be introduced over time but some changes will come in straight away. Highland Council Trading Standards are keen to support businesses through this significant period by providing specific advice as well as signposting enterprises to sources of guidance.

Sources of advice