The Market Surveillance and Compliance of Products Regulation (EU) 2019/1020

The EU market surveillance regulation came into force in the EU on July 16 2021. It amends 18 CE marking directives in order to:

  • better protect end users and the environment from unsafe and non-compliant products
  • protect producers from unfair competition by those who ignore the rules
  • help market surveillance and customs authorities trace and question non-EU manufacturers especially online suppliers.

Most of the regulation is concerned with arrangements for market surveillance and border authorities such as such as consumer protection, health and safety, environmental protection and customs authorities.

Article 4 gives requirements for suppliers of products, called ‘economic operators.’ The main new requirement is for every regulated product to have a responsible economic operator in the EU before it is placed on the market.

The main type of supply chain affected is online sales from non-EU websites, which have not previously had an economic operator in the EU.

The arrival of the regulation closely follows Britain leaving the EU single market in January 2021, making the situation for British products more complicated.

Appointing an Authorised Representative with expertise in product safety is the simplest way to get a responsible economic operator without disrupting the existing supply chain.

Which part of the EU Regulation on Market Surveillance says what suppliers have to do?

What do suppliers of products have to do?

When do suppliers have to be ready?

Does the Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 apply in the UK?

Which products require a responsible economic operator?

Which Directives and Regulations are listed?

What about non-CE-marked ‘general’ products?

Which countries are in the EU single market?

What does “placed on the market” mean?

When is a product on an overseas website considered to be “placed on the market”

Who can be the responsible economic operator?

Who is the responsible economic operator in a conventional supply chain with an importer and distributor?

Who is the responsible economic operator when a fulfilment service provider in the EU handles the product?

Who is the responsible economic operator when the product is shipped from outside the EU directly to the end-user?

Is an online marketplace an economic operator?

What information on the responsible economic operator must be provided with the product?

How can an authorised rep’s contact details be indicated?

How can manufacturers’ and importers’ contact details be indicated?

Which Authorities require the contact details to be marked?

Can a phone number, email address or website be indicated instead?

What if there are multiple names and addresses?

Do I need to translate the titles ‘manufactured by’, ‘represented by’ etc.?

Tasks of the Authorised Representative or other Responsible Economic Operator

What are the tasks when they start representing a new product?

When they start representing a product range or when a new product is added, they must:

  • Check that the declaration of conformity/performance has been drawn up and keep it.
  • Verify that the technical documentation has been drawn up and ensure that it can be made available to market surveillance authorities on request.

What are the tasks when a product presents a risk?

If they discover or receive a report of products that present a risk, they must:

  • inform the relevant market surveillance authorities in each EU Member State where the product has been made available of the risk and the action they are taking; and
  • make sure that the necessary action is taken immediately to correct the products or,
  • if that is not possible, withdraw or recall the product to mitigate the risk.

What else can a market surveillance authority ask them to do?

  • provide the declaration of conformity/performance without delay;
  • provide the technical documentation to demonstrate conformity or ensure that the manufacturer provides it within a reasonable timeframe.
  • translate information into a language agreed with the authority.
  • bring the product into compliance or withdraw it or recall it, as appropriate. e.g. by asking the manufacturer to take action and verifying that it has done so.

What if the authorised representative or other responsible economic operator cannot complete their tasks because the manufacturer won’t cooperate?

If the manufacturer does not respond to a request and to a reminder of their obligations, they should cease being the authorised representative or other responsible economic operator. This would mean, in the case of:

  • an importer – it should stop placing the products on the market;
  • an authorised representative – it should end its relationship with the manufacturer;
  • a fulfilment service provider – it should no longer dispatch the products to end-users.

What are the penalties if the authorised representative or other responsible economic operator fails to fulfil its tasks?

Member states set effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for failing to fulfil the tasks in Regulation (EU) 2019/1020.

Can the authorised representative or other responsible economic operator bear lability for injury caused by a dangerous product they represent?

The manufacturer remains responsible for the compliance of the product and retains any legal obligations it has as regards liability for defective products. Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 does not impose additional legal obligations on the authorised representative or other responsible economic operator.

They would bear some liability for injury caused it they became aware of a dangerous product and failed to report it or take action.

Where can I find out more about regulation EU 2019/1020?

Northern Ireland:

Guidance for market surveillance authorities
Guidance for economic operators in Norhtern Ireland

Product Safety Portal


EU guidance document (in different languages) comprehensive guidance on EU harmonisation legislation: Blue guide