6 considerations for European standards following Brexit
To discuss the UK’s future role in helping to shape European standards, BSI held a live webinar to cover the effect Brexit could have for standards in the UK, and its ambition for remaining a leading member of the European standards system. Participating in the discussions from BSI were Dr Scott Steedman CBE, Director of Standards, David Bell, Director of Standards Policy and Richard Collin, National and European Policy Manager. Here we share some of the highlights:
1) Business as usual
The main point that the BSI is keen to stress, is that for now, nothing changes. The UK will continue to contribute to the creation of new European standards, and industry should continue to operate as normal. The organisation has already taken immediate steps to communicate with all its stakeholders and reassure them for the coming months. And it has opened a dialogue with ministers in Scotland to ensure relations within the domestic market remain strong. For the longer-term, the BSI is already working closely with the UK Government to provide assistance as it negotiates the country’s exit from the EU.
2) The UK’s continued membership of CEN and CENELEC
CEN and CENELEC are private organisations outside the EU, coordinating the work of 33 countries in the making and dissemination of European standards. Membership is linked to the adoption of European standards and the withdrawal of conflicting national standards, facilitating market access across the member countries. It is the only market structure of its kind in the world, and as such, the BSI intends to retain full membership to allow the UK to continue having a say in any new European standards.
3) How Brexit could affect the UK’s position in the single market
Once Article 50 is triggered, one of the top priorities for Government is negotiating and agreeing a new relationship for the UK in the single market, so that we can continue to trade freely with Europe. Before the referendum took place, the BSI was proactive and undertook research to understand the potential scenarios the UK could find itself in. The report determined there were four possible outcomes, which range from retaining our current position, similar to how Norway and Iceland currently trade in the single market, through to trading as a third country where the UK would be subject to tariffs and quotas, similar to how New Zealand operates. By working closely with the UK Government, the BSI has shared these scenarios, and what it would mean for UK trade, to ensure more informed decision making can take place, which is in the best interests of our country to protect our industries.