What will the new Market Surveillance Regulation impose?
New rules will prohibit certain goods from being sold in the EU and NI unless an economic operator (or Authorised Representative) established in either the EU or NI is identified as being responsible for certain product compliance matters. This operator will be required to:
- Verify the required conformity documentation (such as the Declaration of Conformity and technical files)
- Represent the company in cooperating and liaising with market surveillance authorities, and
- Notify authorities in relation to any relevant safety or compliance issues
The economic operator responsible for these tasks must be one of the following:
- The manufacturer (if they are based in the EU or NI)
- The importer (if they are based in the EU or NI)
- The manufacturer’s appointed Authorised Representative based in the EU or NI, or
- Where none of the the above exist, the fulfilment service provider based in the EU or NI
In the case of the last option, a fulfilment service provider is defined as a business providing at least two of the following services: warehousing, packaging, addressing and dispatching, without having ownership of the product in question. This would apply, for example, if a business based in Great Britain sold goods directly via an online platform and used the services of a fulfilment service provider based in the EU to store, package and dispatch the goods.
How is the responsible economic operator identified?
The name and contact details (including the postal address) of the responsible economic operator must be clearly presented on the product, its packaging, or with an accompanying document such as the Declaration of Conformity.
What products do these requirements apply to?
The requirements to have an economic operator in the EU or NI applies to the following products:
- Construction products
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Gas appliances
- Eco-design requirements for energy-related products
- Restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances (ROHS)
- Recreational craft and personal watercraft
- Simple pressure vessels
- Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
- Non-automatic weighing instruments
- Measuring instruments
- Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX)
- Low voltage electrical equipment
- Radio equipment
- Pressure equipment
Does the same apply to goods exported to Great Britain?
While legislation has not yet been passed to adopt the requirements set out in the regulation into GB national laws, certain products already have provisions in place under UK law that require the name and contact details of the importer or UK Responsible Person (UKRP, the equivalent of an EU Authorised Representative) based in Great Britain to be stated on the product or its packaging. This is set out in the Product Safety and Metrology Regulations 2019.
It is understood that the government is considering the issues raised in the Market Surveillance Regulation as part of the wider ‘UK product safety review: call for evidence.’ The deadline for responses to this is 3 June 2021. There will therefore be more clarification on this in the near future.
What can you do to ensure your products are compliant?
In order to ensure your products meet the updated Market Surveillance Regulation, you can take the following steps:
- Determine your appropriate economic operator based in the EU or NI
- Assign an Authorised Representative
- Ensure appropriate documentation is assigned to your products
- Ensure appropriate communications with market surveillance authorities is upheld
- If uncertain, consult with a compliance organisation that can assist you in taking the appropriate course of action.