Brexit

Hallmarking Requirements Post-Brexit

25 Nov 2019

The British Hallmarking Council sets out best practice for UK jewellery importers and exporters, around possible scenarios post-Brexit.

The current situation

There are currently two separate ways in which hallmarks applied in one country can be recognised as being equivalent in another country:

European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling

The ECJ has ruled that EU member states must recognise each other’s marks subject to providing an equivalent level of protection and being intelligible to consumers. Most EU countries, with a requirement for compulsory hallmarking, will accept UK hallmarks as equivalent to their own. The UK also accepts many EU member state hallmarks.

The Common Control Mark (CCM)

The Convention mark (CCM) can only be applied by a signatory country within its national boundary – the Convention is an agreement between Governments who have ratiļ¬ed the terms of the treaty and has technical rules on testing and marking. A signatory country applying the CCM has followed these common technical rules – all other signatory countries will accept the articles directly onto their market.

What might change post-Brexit?

No Deal Exit

If the UK leaves the EU without any deal, all the UK’s obligations to recognise EU marks would cease and vice versa. In this case we anticipate that any product already on the market pre-Brexit would be legal and already be in free circulation.

New stock entering the UK market would require a UK-hallmark and in the case of stock exported to other EU countries, it would require a mark recognised by those countries. The CCM will continue to be recognised in the UK and to be recognised in countries who are members of the Convention.

Managed Deal Exit

If the UK negotiates a managed exit from the EU with an EU customs union, that relationship may continue to be subject to the ECJ ruling which currently provides the basis for recognition of domestic marks. There are also likely to be cut-offs agreed over a set period, if there are going to be changes to the current situation. Until the exact nature of any future deal is known the exact effect cannot be determined.

Delayed Exit

In the case of a delayed exit, the current recognition to UK marks by our EU neighbours and vice versa would continue.

What action can importers and exporters consider taking now?

The CCM mark applied by a UK Assay Office is currently accepted in all EU member states because it is a UK hallmark. You can start applying a CCM mark to your goods now with no impact on your current import or export requirements.

Post-Brexit, it will continue to be accepted by those EU member States who are also signatories to the Convention.

Which countries are covered by the CCM?

Current member states of the Convention are: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Serbia and Italy have undergone assessment, and been invited to join but are in the process of ratifying the treaty.

The CCM mark can be applied to new articles along with UK Assay Office marks or as an addition to articles already bearing UK hallmarks.

If you are importing from any of the above countries, we recommend that post-Brexit you request a convention mark on your goods, or you submit them to a UK Assay Office for hallmarking before placing them on the market.

Those exporting to any of the above countries, we recommend that you apply a convention mark to your goods, post-Brexit.

The UK exemption weights of 7.78gm for silver, 1gm for gold/palladium and 0.5gm for platinum, may not apply in other countries. For example, in the Republic of Ireland there are no exemption weights. This means that any stock destined for southern Ireland must bear a CCM.

What about EU countries that are not members of the Convention?

Luxemburg and Germany do not require any hallmark as a pre-market authorisation. In France a hallmark is a legal requirement. Importers must register with the Bureau de Garantie. In Spain a hallmark is a legal requirement. Importers must register with an assay office in Spain. There are legal requirements regarding hallmarking in Belgium. Details can be found via the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Note: At time of going to press, the final UK-EU relationship is unknown. Therefore, the above sets out best practice around possible scenarios that may or may not transpire. This information relates to hallmarks only. Separate advice should be sought on customs arrangements.
www.gov.uk/government/organisations/british-hallmarking-council

New Era for Hallmarking

In a joint initiative, the NAJ, the IRV and the London Assay Office will come together on 14th January, 2020 at Goldsmiths' Hall, London, to discuss the very many facets of hallmarking. London Assay Master, Robert Organ, will talk about the past, present and future of hallmarking; NAJ CEO Simon Forrester will outline new developments and Kerry Gregory of Gemmology Rocks will clarify the realities and logistics of hallmarking within a jewellery business. To attend this free event, visit: naj.co.uk/whats-on

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