EU Updates Regulation on Market Surveillance and Compliance of Products
The European Union is stepping up efforts to ensure that only products that are safe and compliant with EU legislation can be placed on the market.
On June 25, 2019, the Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 on Market Surveillance and Compliance of Products and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011 (the Market Surveillance Regulation) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The new Market Surveillance Regulation is a part of the “Goods package”, which also contained a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another member state, adopted in March 2019 (the Mutual Recognition Regulation).
Both regulations reflect the EU’s stated objective to reinforce trust in the EU single market by ensuring compliance with and enforcement of product legislation (through the Market Surveillance Regulation) and at the same time improving and facilitating mutual recognition for goods (through the Mutual Recognition Regulation).
The Market Surveillance Regulation seeks to improve product compliance controls at the EU borders by:
laying down rules and procedures for economic operators
strengthening market surveillance of products covered by EU harmonisation legislation
providing a framework for controls at the EU border
These measures will have the greatest impact on online sales.
The Market Surveillance Regulation applies to all products subject to EU harmonised Regulations, e.g. Ecodesign implementing Regulations, and provides an enforcement of market surveillance activities, including the set-up of the Union Product Compliance Network (UPCN). Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 applicable from July 16, 2021. The UPCN is to be set up by January 1, 2021.
The Market Surveillance Regulation prohibits the placing of certain goods on the market unless an economic operator established in the EU is identified as responsible for ensuring the availability of the conformity documentation, cooperating with market surveillance authorities and informing authorities when they have reasons to believe that a product presents a risk. This can be:
manufacturer of the goods
importer (if the manufacturer is not located in the EU)
fulfillment service provider (if none of the above are located in the EU)
This requirement applies to some of the goods covered by the Market Surveillance Regulation, including construction products, machinery, toys, radio equipment, pressure equipment, and electrical and electronic equipment.
Companies placing these products on the EU market and do not yet identify a responsible person established in the European Union or do not rely on an economic operator established in the United Kingdom should assess their obligations and take the necessary steps.
Currently, for type of B2C sales, there is no enterprise formally responsible for regulatory compliance. Consumers are ‘importers’, responsible for compliance. They are supposed to ensure that what they buy online from vendors outside of the EU complies with EU rules. This is about to change as new Market Surveillance Regulation requires non-EU vendors to have a representative in the EU, and makes a fulfillment service provider responsible in case there is no representative. A fulfillment service provider is a person or company offering at least two of the following services: warehousing, packaging, addressing, and dispatching without having ownership of the products involved. Courier and postal companies are specifically excluded.
More information could be found here.
The information has been prepared by the GMA Consult Group team.
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