BSI to maintain EU standards

1st September 2016

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Sophie Hemmings

British standards body BSI has confirmed that it will seek to continue to participate in the European standardisation system after the UK leaves the EU.

BSI is one of 33 national standards agencies that belong to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). These set standards across member states and five other countries – Macedonia, Turkey and the three countries in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

In a webinar, BSI director of standards Scott Steedman confirmed that the body did not expect its relationship with its European partners to change in the short term. ‘UK experts have input into European standards and have a say into which international ones are adopted by CEN and CENELEC. This will remain the case,’ he said.

BSI said it would remain in CEN and CENELEC should the UK join the European Economic Area or EFTA, but it warned that changes to the statutes of the two bodies would probably be required for the British organisation to retain membership if the UK were to default to World Trade Organization rules. ‘Much will depend on the political settlement,’ said Steedman.

Exports to the EU would have to continue to meet European standards whatever the UK’s future relationship. However, a complete departure would put at risk UK input into standards because it would in effect lose all influence over their development.

In a statement, BSI said it would work with government departments and CEN and CENELEC on its future role in the development of European standards. BSI membership of the International Standardization Organization, ISO, would be unaffected by a UK exit from the EU.


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