The European Commission announced on 22 January 2020 that it is looking for feedback on draft guidelines on the implementation of Article 4 of the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 (the "Regulation").
Article 4 of the Regulation provides that there must be an economic operator based in the EU to provide information to the market surveillance authorities and cooperate with them. This can be the manufacturer, the importer into the EU, an authorised representative appointed by the manufacturer, or a fulfilment service provider.
This consultation is a unique opportunity for businesses involved in the distribution of products in the EU to have input into the detail of the obligations placed on them.
What is the Market Surveillance Regulation?
The Regulation was adopted on 25 June 2019 and is to take effect by July 2021, largely replacing Regulation (EC) No 765/2008. The Regulation provides a framework for 70 EU product laws including REACH, the Batteries Directive, the WEEE Directive and the Eco-Design and Energy Labelling Directives.
The aim of the Regulation is to strengthen measures to ensure products comply with EU legislation and protect the public interest. Among other measures, the Regulation imposes obligations on economic operators and establishes a system for their cooperation with the authorities.
What are the obligations on businesses?
The obligations on the EU economic operator in Article 4 include:
- Keeping the EU declaration of conformity or performance for the product;
- Making the declaration and the technical documentation for the product available to market surveillance authorities on request;
- Informing the authorities if a product is deemed to pose a risk;
- Cooperating with the market surveillance authorities, including taking corrective action if a product is considered non-compliant with EU legislation; and
- Including their name, registered trade mark and contact details on the product, packaging or an accompanying document.
What is the consultation about?
Under the Regulation, the European Commission must draw up guidelines for the practical implementation of Article 4 for market surveillance authorities and economic operators. The consultation aims to gather input on the draft guidelines.
The Commission is holding a stakeholder meeting in Brussels on Friday 21 February 2020, which interested parties may register to attend here. Otherwise feedback can be provided by email by the deadline of 17 April 2020: see here for more information and details of how to obtain a copy of the draft guidelines.
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