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What Brexit Means for BS and EN Standards


Following the Brexit result of the UK referendum, the triggering of Article 50 on 29th March 2017 marked the beginning of the UK’s withdrawal negotiations with the EU. BSI has been working closely with the stakeholders of the FIA to communicate the key messages about the vital role of standards in supporting trade, growth and productivity. The following is an overview what how the different roles of the National Standards Body will be affected:

National level

BSI will continue to develop and publish British Standards. No changes are anticipated to our activity in this area.

European level

BSI maintains the UK membership of the three European standardization organizations: CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.  Our membership of these organizations continues as normal; it is ‘business as usual’ in all aspects of our standards making and publishing activity.

CEN and CENELEC are private organizations outside the EU coordinating the work of 34 countries in the making and the dissemination of European Standards (EN). Membership of CEN and CENELEC is linked to the adoption of European Standards and the withdrawal of conflicting national standards, facilitating market access across the member countries.

During the past months, we have been working with UK government (e.g. the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade) and other parties as appropriate, in particular CEN, CENELEC and their members, regarding our role in the development of European standards. This work will continue during the negotiation period that now follows the triggering of Article 50.

It is BSI’s ambition, and also its confident expectation, on behalf of UK stakeholders, for the UK to continue to participate in the European standards system as a full member of CEN and CENELEC post-Brexit.  Given the private status of these bodies, and thus their independence from the political authorities, BSI’s ambition is not affected by the Prime Minister’s announcement on 17 January 2017 that the Brexit process will include the UK leaving the Single Market.

Remaining as a full member would bring maximum benefit to the UK economy and society in its new status outside the EU because reciprocity of market access with European countries and the maintenance of a unified domestic market structure across the UK facilitate trade and reduce complexity for SMEs and consumers, ultimately saving time, money and effort whilst ensuring product quality and safety. BSI also produced a document prior to the referendum which, though outdated now in part, contains some background information of continuing interest.

International level

Our membership of the two international standardization organizations, ISO and IEC, will be unaffected by a UK exit from the EU.  BSI is committed to representing the UK’s interests in the creation of international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

Original Source – FIA


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