EU Responsible Person – What You Need to Know

From 16 July 2021, the EU is making an important change to the regulation of product compliance. The change affects businesses selling to EU consumers from outside the European single market. If you sell products covered by the CE marking then you will need to be aware of it.

What change is being made?

When the change takes effect, businesses outside the EU must appoint a ‘responsible person’ if they sell directly to consumers in the European single market. This may be an individual or a business. The responsible person must be a based in the EU and they will deal with product compliance and safety. In some product categories, similar regulation already exists. The change extends the responsible person requirement to all products bearing the CE marking.

Why is the EU making the change?

E-commerce has become more and more important over the past decade. Today it is much easier for consumers to buy products directly from international sellers. While this is convenient for consumers, it poses problems for regulation. Manufacturers may be able to sell products to European consumers that don’t comply with EU legislation and directives. The purpose of the change is to improve accountability for these sellers.

What is the role of the responsible person?

The responsible person serves as a liaison between the manufacturer and the European authorities. If there are compliance issues, they act as a point of contact. But the manufacturer remains liable for any compliance problems. The responsible person must retain compliance documentation for a product. If they believe a product poses a safety risk, they must inform the relevant authorities. And if the product is found to be non-compliant, they must work to fix the issues.

Who can be a responsible person?

Businesses have flexibility in who they can appoint as a responsible person. Firms exist in the EU that provide a dedicated responsible person service. Meanwhile, some businesses offer this service alongside their other roles within the supply chain. For example, Amazon offers their own responsible person service for some products.

What do I need to do?

If you are based outside of the EU and sell CE-marked products to consumers in the European single market then you need to take action. Unlock EMEA has experience in all of the key European markets. If you need further advice regarding the responsible person change or another area of product compliance, we can help.

Find out how Unlock EMEA can help with your online and retail business in EMEA
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