What are the basic responsibilities of the Importer of non-EU products into the EU market?
Importers of products into the EU are deemed as the ‘legal manufacturers’ of the products. Being the connecting link between non-EU manufacturers and EU-sellers, they are expected to have a sound knowledge of the system and take full responsibility for the CE marking.
Importers of products from non-EU countries must check that their products fulfill the necessary EU safety, health, and environmental protection requirements.
Their basic responsibilities are as follows:
- The non-EU origin manufacturer has fulfilled necessary obligations prior to entering the EU market and ensure this can be demonstrated as needed.
- The necessary documentation such as the EU Declaration of Conformity and any other technical document is available upon request.
- The contact details of the manufacture are always up-to-date and available upon request.
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Which countries require obligatory CE Marking?
The European Union has 28 countries that require obligatory CE Marking. This includes the United Kingdom for now, as Brexit may not alter its CE compliance regulations. Though there is a possible UKCA alternative in the near future.
Members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have signed into the European Economic Area (EEA). Hence, they require mandatory CE Marking as well. Switzerland is yet another EFTA country that requires products to be compliant to the EU Medical Devices Directives.
Interestingly, Turkey, neither member of the EU, EFTA or EEA, has implemented many of the European CE Marking directives as mandated. Certification Experts has sound knowledge in navigating the nuanced CE regulations in all countries.
What are the differences between EU, EFTA, and EEA with relevance to CE Marking?
EU: The European Union has 28 countries since its inception post World War 2. Constantly expanding, all members follow the CE Marking system.
EFTA: Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland form EFTA countries. They have a free trade agreement with Canada, although CE Marking does not certify a product’s compliance with Canadian standards.
EEA: Except Switzerland, the EFTA members and EU have collaborated to form the EEA for free trade. Members follow the CE Marking system.
What are the EU consumer responsibilities?
Consumers trust all manufacturers, importers, and distributors to follow the obligatory safety, environmental and legal protocol when using products. Certification Experts insist that EU consumers are aware of the basics of CE Marking.
Here are some ways consumers can make the system more efficient.
Buying products from trustworthy sellers:
Trusted and established sellers, including e-commerce stores, are stringent about quality control. They have a strong return policy in place. Shady sellers usually ignore health and safety regulation and tend to drive their sales through unrealistic and attractive offers. They may even sell fake goods. It’s advised to run a background check on the traders before purchase.
A thorough reading of instructions:
Especially with toys and medical devices, reading the user manual, warnings and installation procedure is of prime importance. Consumer feedback helps in the improvement of the product.
Reporting safety issues:
When dealing with products from trusted traders, reporting safety issues empowers the consumers. In case of dissatisfaction, informing the authorities and the manufacturer is of prime importance. It leads to improve the CE Marking system and minimizes further casualties.
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Is the China Export CE the same as the Conformité Européene CE?
No, they are completely different frameworks and are not interchangeable at any stage.
Despite the confusing similarity in the graphics, the China CE mark merely indicates that the product was manufactured in China. The EU consumers should note that the China Export CE mark does not imply that the said product is compliant with the safety standards dictated by the EU.
The simplest distinction is that the China Export CE has the letters sitting very close together as opposed to the standard Conformité Européene CE Marking. The latter is at least 5 mm tall and legibly marked adjacent to the manufacturer’s name.
It is illegal to place the standard CE Certification on products not requiring it.