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Brexit latest: ‘No Deal’ advice for UK boat manufacturers who use an EU distributor

Published on: 14 February 2019

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UK Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) boat and component manufacturers that use an EU distributor will have to change their relationship in the case of a 'no deal' Brexit.

The RCD 2013/53/EU clearly defines the different responsibilities of companies within the supply chain of a vessel when placed on the EU market. Within the text of the directive there is the definition of importer and the responsibilities that they have.

(18) ‘distributor’ means any natural or legal person in the supply chain, other than the manufacturer or the importer, who makes a product available on the market;

(16) ‘importer’ means any natural or legal person established within the Union who places a product from a third country on the Union market;

(17) ‘private importer’ means any natural or legal person established within the Union who imports in the course of a non-commercial activity a product from a third country into the Union with the intention of putting it into service for his own use;

With a 'no deal' Brexit the UK will become a third country, therefore UK manufacturers selling to the EU become third country manufacturers and their EU Distributors become importers. As a result, there will be a change in responsibilities for the EU distributors of UK manufactured products, from distributors responsibilities to importers responsibilities.

The responsibilities of importers are included within the directive itself and include:

(11) As certain tasks can be executed only by the manufacturer, it is necessary to distinguish clearly between the manufacturer and operators further down the distribution chain. It is also necessary to distinguish clearly between the importer and the distributor, as the importer introduces products from third countries to the Union market. The importer should thus make sure that those products comply with the applicable Union requirements.

(13) It is necessary to ensure that products covered by this Directive entering the Union market from third countries comply with all applicable Union requirements, and in particular that appropriate assessment procedures have been carried out by manufacturers with regard to those products. Provision should therefore be made for importers to make sure that the products they place on the market comply with the applicable requirements and that they do not place on the market products which do not comply with such requirements or which present a risk. For the same reason, provision should also be made for importers to make sure that conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and that the CE marking and documentation drawn up by manufacturers are available for inspection by the supervisory authorities.

(15) When placing a product covered by this Directive on the market, importers should indicate on the product their name and the address at which they can be contacted. Exceptions should be provided for in cases where the size or nature of a component does not allow for such an indication.

In addition, selling directly to a customer within the EU would class the customer as private importer with the additional legal responsibilities as defined within the directive for private importer.

For further information, British Marine members can contact the Technical team on technical@britishmarine.co.uk.