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 groups:

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 e-Commerce Product Compliance. [www.sgs.com/en/consumer-goods-retail/ecommerce-product-compliance]

For more information, please contact:

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.