In February 2018, the BSI or British Standards Institution outlined their stance for post-Brexit in a position statement.

They plan to continue to “provide UK experts with the standards development framework to support trade in the UK, across Europe and globally” and they feel “BSI should remain a full member of the European Standards Organizations”.

BSI states that their “Brexit Position Paper sets out the eight key principles on which” their position is based. The “principles are supported by statements from a range of BSI’s stakeholders…”

These eight principles are:

1) Standards provide a passport to trade.
2) The European standards system has simplified the market structure in Europe through the use of the single national standard model across 34 countries in the region.
3) The European standards system is neither owned by nor is it an agency of the European Union.
4) The UK has significant influence in the development of European standards.
5) Maintaining full UK membership of CEN and CENELEC is important to the success of business in Europe post-Brexit.
6) Maintaining full CEN and CENELEC membership also brings benefits to consumers and other public interest groups.
7) BSI must therefore continue as a full member of CEN and CENELEC post-Brexit.
8) Standards will provide a key element underpinning future free trade agreements between the UK and non-EU countries.

Each key point goes into further explanation on why BSI feels continued membership in the CEN and CENELEC is important.

BSI explains that having a single standard “adopted worldwide” will create “a coherent catalogue of non-conflicting national standards” while it “minimizes barriers to trade” and “maximizing the opportunities for UK business internationally”. They also discuss how the European standards system has “simplified the market structure in Europe” and also states when “a European standard is developed by the industry…on the basis of an international standard or as a European initiative, then all member bodies must adopt it as a national standard and withdraw any existing conflicting national standards”. For them this helps to explain how the market has been simplified and that “industry no longer needs separate production lines for different countries within individual countries”.

The paper goes on to explain in the third point that the European standards system is not owned or is an “agency of the European Union”. They state the “CEN and CENELEC are private, member associations”. The BSI further elaborates that “the majority of European standards developed by CEN and CENELEC (75%) are not linked to European public policy or regulation”. In their fourth point, they comment how “UK experts provide support and leadership in hundreds of European standards-developing committees and working groups” and is “present in all of the governance levels of CEN and CENELEC”.

In the last four points, the BSI position statement explains the staying a full member of the CEN and CENELEC is vital because the UK is “amongst the leading countries in the world in its near 100% adoption of international and European standards as national standards”. Another point they mention is continued membership will bring the UK benefits like “continuing UK influence and voting rights over the standards”. They also claim, “consumers and other public groups” will benefit as “standards can be used as a consumer protection tool”. BSI goes on to discuss in another key point that they want the UK to be a “standards maker” not a “standards taker” and that the way is to continue following a single standard. BSI also states following multiple standards or “recognizing non-UK standards as additional national standards would prejudice continued UK membership of CEN and CENELEC” and following multiple standards would “fragment the market as there would no longer be a requirement to withdraw conflicting standards”. The last point goes on to explain that following the single standard also provides a foundation to trade deals and relationships with other non-EU countries like China. BSI says that “the single national standard model enables UK business and industry to realize new opportunities arising from Brexit in international and European trade and inward investment”.

Overall, the paper goes into further detail to explain each point. Go to their website to read more and download the position statement.

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[BSI – original article]

[Picture – BSI]