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European Parliament report on Market Surveillance

This follows our Friday Brief announcement in February of the European Commission’s proposed new Regulation on Market Surveillance. MTA members will recall the EC’s stated objective of creating a level playing field for businesses by streamlining the enforcement of existing EU legislation for the safety of all non-food products.  In response, CECIMO and industry support platform partners issued a 5-point position paper. This was within the framework of their market surveillance advocacy campaign manifesto of Nov 2011.

 The rapporteur report of MEP Ms Sirpa Pietikainen on the Commission proposal has recently been circulated (LINK), including amendments proposed by the rapporteur.  The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee will table its amendments by 4th September.  CECIMO now has the opportunity to communicate our industry position to the MEPs before mid-July.  Industry feedback is really important since the new Regulation will impact on every business.

 The MTA Technical Committee has commented along the following lines on the rapporteur report and CECIMO’s analysis:

·         Generally market surveillance is a good thing for all the reasons mentioned in the ‘positive points’ section of the CECIMO summary. Where it becomes a problem is when it is used as an ‘excuse’ to delay importation into a region. The end result of proactively checking goods as they enter one European country from another (or from outside) should not lead to excessive delays. The technical difficulties in this were the main reason the CE mark was invented in the first place as a ‘passport’ to free movement.

·         There is concern at the technical ability of the ‘inspectors’ passing judgement on products and subsequent ‘discussions’ between them and the manufacturers taking time and effort on something that may prove to be compliant after all. At least with the current approach (in the UK), HSE or equivalent organisations tend to be well educated and understand the market sector they are involved in and there is normally a focus on the investigation. A detailed discussion on EN13849-1 (functional safety of controls) compliance with someone who specialises in washing machines would not be particularly successful!

·         Amendment 17. A product that is ‘non-compliant’ because of missing information must be seen differently to one where Directives have deliberately been ignored.

·         The CECIMO comments on Amendment 41 are wholeheartedly agreed. Charging to prove there was NOT a non-conformity would be outrageous.

·         Amendment 62 fines are massive. If this were to be agreed then many products would be removed from the market due to the risks, especially if the assessment process is laborious and onerous.

 A final draft CECIMO (and partners) position paper has now been issued (LINK), urgently inviting further comments.  MTA members are invited to send their comments asap, to: rgriffiths@mta.org.uk