On 16 July 2021, the European Market Surveillance Regulation will come into full force. It is intended to prevent consumers from being put at risk by non-EU-compliant products. It also creates better conditions for fair competition. Find out here what the new EU regulation means for online trade.
Market Surveillance Regulation in a nutshell:
- More tasks for economic operators
- Increased obligation of fulfilment service providers
- Increased scope for action by authorities
Individual areas of EU Regulation 2019/1020 have already been in force since 01 January 2021. All parts of the Market Surveillance Regulation apply since 16 July 2021. Specifically, it is about monitoring the European market and ensuring the conformity of products.
Germany has adopted the Market Surveillance Act (MüG) in response to the European Regulation. The content of the law is the same as that of the Market Surveillance Regulation. It also entered into force on 16 July 2021.
You can find out exactly what this means for online trade in the following.
Why does the Market Surveillance Regulation come into force?
The Market Surveillance Regulation primarily serves to protect consumers and ensure fair competition. It is intended to protect against dangerous or harmful products. Traders who offer unsafe products and do not comply with the market conduct rules must expect negative consequences.
Sustainability compliance is thus also becoming increasingly important. We support you with your concerns regarding the Market Surveillance Regulation.
What is the aim of the Market Surveillance Regulation?
The new EU Regulation is intended to strengthen the monitoring of the European internal market. Products that fall under the so-called harmonisation rules are better monitored since 16 July 2021.
This is to ensure that only compliant products are made available on the Union market. Products must not endanger the health and safety of users. Nor may they violate EU harmonisation legislation.
The overall objective of the Market Surveillance Regulation is to protect the public interest. Particularly protected are:
- Health and safety in general,
- Health and safety at work,
- Consumer and environmental protection, and
- Other protected public interests.
In addition, the Regulation provides a framework for controls on products entering the Union market.
Market Surveillance Regulation obliges online trade
Products are affected by the new EU regulation from the moment they are made available on the Union market. For online trade, this means: As soon as you as an online trader offer shipment to one or more EU member states, you must have considered all aspects of the Market Surveillance Regulation.
As an essential aspect of product compliance, the importance of packaging legislation and the WEEE Directive is also growing. With our digital advisory service, we compile individual checklists for you. This way, you can be sure that you have taken the right precautions in every EU country.
What do online retailers have to take care of?
The Market Surveillance Regulation defines so-called “economic operators”. A product may only be made available on the European market if an economic operator established in the EU is responsible for the product.
Economic operators are manufacturers, importers, authorised representatives or fulfilment service providers established in the EU.
The role of the economic operator is to cooperate with the market surveillance authorities and to inform the authorities of any incidents.
Since 16 July 2021, the product, the product packaging, the package or an accompanying document must be specifically marked:
- The name, registered trade name or registered trade mark of the economic operator and
- The contact details including the postal address of the economic operator must be noted.
For all products offered in the EU, the economic operator must be able to hold any EU declarations of conformity, declarations of performance and technical documentation. This is to ensure that these documents can be handed over to the market surveillance authority in case of an inspection.
The member states appoint the market surveillance authorities. They report current incidents to the EU Commission and the Member States.
What changes for Amazon Sellers?
Amazon has reacted to the Market Surveillance Regulation.
Sellers who sell via FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) have new labelling obligations due to the Market Surveillance Regulation. Until now, only a CE marking was responsible for corresponding products. Since 16 July 2021, there must be a contact person for product conformity in the EU for products with CE marking.
On top of that, Amazon (as well as other marketplaces) must work with national market surveillance agencies to ensureconformity of their sellers with EU laws. Therefore, the new regulation puts additional pressure on Amazon sellers to fulfill all product conformity laws.
If a seller is found not to be legally compliant with any of the EU directives, worst case it can result in the Amazon seller account being locked or deleted.
When will sanctions be imposed?
The exact sanctions are determined by the member states themselves. In Germany, prison sentences of up to one year or fines may be imposed.
In the event of non-compliance with the MÜ-VO, the market surveillance authority can ensure that the product is removed from the market or recalled. Alternatively, the sale will be banned or restricted. In addition, the authority has the right to inform the public, the EU Commission and other EU member states.
Thus, the new EU regulation ensures that online retailers who have not considered all aspects of the labelling obligation will face severe restrictions.
We have summarized further innovations that will affect online traders in 2021 in this article.
Appeal to the responsibility of online trade
Through the Market Surveillance Regulation, Amazon and other large overseas traders will be required to take responsibility for their actions within the EU. However, it is also more important than ever for all other online traders to have all market conduct rules on their radar and to play by the rules.
Ecosistant is available to provide you with advice and support to meet all your sustainability compliance obligations.