In response to the European Commission Document entitled “Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Rules in the Field of Industrial Products” CSA Group is providing the following information regarding the potential implications of Brexit, and how we are actively working towards continuity of service for our ATEX certificate holders.
At CSA Group, we understand that your business success depends largely on the ability to trade across international borders with minimal disruption. We acknowledge that for some customers, the UK’s future relationship with the European Union following its decision to leave the EU (so called ‘Brexit’) has caused uncertainty with respect to ATEX certificates issued by UK-based Notified Bodies. Sira Certification Service, owned by CSA Group, is our UK-based Notified Body and will be identified as CSA Group (Sira).
CSA Group is committed to supporting the continuity of our customers’ business, and to help manage the challenges associated with Brexit. As such, we have implemented plans to help mitigate potential risks with regards to the validity and continuity of our customers’ ATEX certificates.
Status of ATEX Certificates Issued by UK Notified Bodies
Since July 2003, manufacturers wishing to place products intended for use in explosive atmospheres within the EU have been required to comply with the ATEX Directive. Issued ATEX certificates will remain valid until March 2019,(unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date) and UK-based ATEX Notified Bodies continue to issue ATEX certificates today. After the exit date, the process will be dictated by the type of agreement reached between the UK and EU.
CSA Group wants to reassure our customers that we have contingency plans in place. We have offices, and a strong presence, in Europe and around the world including North America. We will keep our customers informed of changes that may affect their businesses and will provide information regarding developments along the way.
Subject to the ongoing negotiations between the UK and EU-27, some possible outcomes are as follows:
- What if the UK joins EFTA and EEA? – The UK could seek to apply for membership of EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and then seek to sign the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement (like Norway and Iceland). In this case, ATEX Directives would still apply and businesses selling UK-tested products or solutions in the EU or EEA, designed to be sold for use in explosive atmospheres, would continue to be bound by Directive 2014/34/EU. Therefore, CSA Group (Sira) ATEX certification should not be impacted.
- What if the UK joins EFTA but outside of EEA? – The UK could apply for membership of EFTA but remain outside the EEA, negotiating bilateral trade agreements with the EU (like Switzerland). In this case, ATEX Directives would still apply to goods and services tested or certified in the UK, and the ability of UK-based Notified Bodies to issue certificates to the ATEX Directive would not be affected. Therefore, CSA Group (Sira) ATEX certification should not be impacted.
- What if there is a transition period of several years after March 2019? – Dependent upon the outcome of this transition, it is in the economic and commercial interest of both parties that Notified Bodies continue to issue ATEX certificates for use across the UK and EU markets.
- What if the UK negotiates bilateral trade agreements with the EU? – Operating outside of the EFTA, the UK could negotiate its own global trade agreements. Additionally the UK could apply for a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), which could potentially cover the conformity assessment of products, effectively allowing Notified Bodies to reside outside of the EU. MRAs are already in place between the EU and non-member countries, including Canada, Australia, and the US. Therefore, if the ability of CSA Group to issue ATEX certificates is impacted, CSA Group (Sira) could continue to issue certification that is acceptable within the EU.
Looking Ahead: CSA Group’s Commitment to Exceptional Customer Service
As part of our unwavering commitment to supporting our customers’ business continuity, CSA Group is moving forward with two new ATEX Notified Bodies:
- Expansion of our current Notified Body in Germany to become an ATEX Notified Body – ATEX certificates issued by CSA Group (Sira) can be transferred free of charge
- Application to become an ATEX Notified Body under CETA– If successful, CSA Group would be a Canadian-based ATEX Notified Body under the CETA trade agreement (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between Canada and the EU, providing another avenue for certification. ATEX certificates issued by CSA Group (Sira) can be transferred free of charge
Our commitment is to help ensure that certificates we have issued remain valid and business disruptions and cost implications are minimized. As one of the leading Testing & Certification agencies in the world, CSA Group will continue to go beyond the expected to help expedite time to market for our customers’ products, while maintaining uncompromising quality.