Come the 16th of July 2021, the rules for placing goods on the European Market will become more stringent, regardless as to whether you are selling goods from within the EU or placing them on the market from outside of the Community.
This is down to the new 'MSR', the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020, which becomes fully implemented on that day.
Like its predecessor (Regulation (EC) 765/2008), the MSR primarily addresses the activities of the Market Surveillance Authorities – on how they function and the powers that they have to ensure that only safe products are placed or remain on the market.
However, unlike its predecessor, the MSR removes the loopholes that have been exploited within the existing ‘New Legislative Framework’ which allowed products to be sold in the EU without representation within the Community. These holes have now been plugged because, in contrast to 765/2008, the new legislation places obligations directly on those persons placing goods on the EU market.
The creation of these new obligations means that there are now extra requirements for either the producer or the importer to address. If these obligations are not met, then the powers of the market surveillance authorities (MSAs) now mean that not only can products be removed from the market place, they can be prevented from being put on sale in the first place.
The essence of the new regulation is that you must have representation within the Community (i.e. the representative is established within the EU). So, if you are a manufacturer outside of the EU, you will need to use one of the recognised functionaries – an importer, an authorised representative or fulfilment service provider - that has an EU address.
Together with the manufacturer, these are termed ‘economic operators’ and their obligations under the regulations are to: verify that declarations and technical files exist; keep declarations on file and make them, together with the technical files, available to the MSAs as and when required; ensure that the appropriate safety instructions are supplied with the product; and to cooperate with the MSAs’ corrective actions to remedy or mitigate risks. To ensure that the economic operator can easily be identified (by both MSAs and end users) their contact details must be on or with the product.
One other notable inclusion in the new regulation is that the economic operator must inform the authorities if they consider - or have reason to believe - that the product presents a risk.
Hence, from the 16th of July 2021, the actions of the MSAs will no longer just be reactionary but they will be proactive, greatly reducing the chances of unsafe and / or non-complying products making it onto the EU market. Quite simply – and to twist a phrase – “if there’s no name on the box, then you’re not coming in”.
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