E-Commerce Sellers Must Get Ready for EU Regulation 2019/1020

European Union (EU) Regulation 2019/1020 on market surveillance and compliance of products
will come into force on July 16, 2021. It will have a profound effect on the
way distance sellers can supply their goods to EU markets.

Regulation 2019/1020 was adopted
on June 20, 2019, amending:

  • Directive 2004/42/EC – volatile organic compound
    emissions from organic solvents in certain paints, varnishes and vehicle
    refinishing products
  • Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 – accreditation and
    market surveillance relating to the marketing of products
  • Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 – harmonized
    conditions for the marketing of construction products

The aim of the regulation is to
harmonize market surveillance for all categories of non-food products. It
covers 70 regulations and directives, with exempted products including food,
feed, medicines, live plants and animals, products of human origin.

For distance sellers it is
important to note the regulation also reinforces the responsibility of economic
operators through customs and documentary controls, and by physical and product
controls. One of the ways it achieves this is to create a fifth category of
economic operator that covers newer forms of selling, for example e-Commerce.

Under the terms of the
regulation, all sellers to EU markets must establish an ‘economic operator’
within the EU. An ‘economic operator’ must belong to one of the following

  1. Manufacturer (located in the EU)
  2. Importer
  3. Authorized representative with a written mandate
    from the manufacturer to comply with legislation
  4. Distributor
  5. Order fulfilment service provider

The EU has created ‘order
fulfilment service provider’ to ensure a level of responsibility from
third-party sellers located outside the EU. Their business model does not
necessarily mean they would have an economic operator in one of the other
categories, but they can still legally sell to the EU by having an ‘order
fulfilment service provider’. This can be any natural or legal person who
performs at least two of the following services: storage, packaging, labeling,
and shipping, without being the owner of the products.

It should be noted, end consumer
cannot be classified as the importer.

There are several obligations
relating to being the defined economic operator. These include performing
specific tasks to ensure all products comply with legislative requirements. In
addition, they must have access to comprehensive quality information on the
products and make these available to the authorities and, in the event of
non-compliance, they should immediately implement corrective measures.

Regulation 2019/1020 comes into
force on July 16, 2021. After this date, ‘distance selling’, shipping directly
to an EU consumer from a non-EU country, will be prohibited without the
establishing of an economic operator. It comes at a time when market
surveillance data is showing a high percentage of products bought online are failing
EU safety laws and are dangerous.
For example, a 2018
survey by France’s Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et
de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) looked at 150 products bought online,
including costume jewelry, electric garlands and toys.
They found 77% were non-compliant and 43% were dangerous.

SGS e-Commerce Product Compliance

SGS offers a comprehensive range
of services to help online retailers, manufacturers and suppliers remain
compliant with EU regulations. Our solutions include the verification of online
information, independent laboratory assessments, document reviews, mystery
shopping, vendor qualification verification, label reviews, packaging services,
market surveillance, development of a Declaration of Conformity (DoC),
technical consultancy, and training, throughout the e-commerce supply
chain. Learn more about SGS
Product Compliance

For more information, please

Hélène Largement

Sales Director CRS

Email: crs.media@sgs.com

Website: www.sgs.com/cgnr

LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading
inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized
as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000
employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around
the world.

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