Product Responsibility & Importers

Importer’s Obligations

The primary responsibility for market surveillance rests with the manufacturer. The importer also has obligations, in particular where the manufacturer is not established in the EU.

Market surveillance requires the importer to stop the circulation of products that do not comply with the standards. Authorities can require them to take steps to remedy issues that arise they can be required to produce technical information explanations and director to take corrective action.

The importer is obliged to keep documentation for 10 years, monitor the market and ensure that products are identifiable. The importer /distributor has obligations to

  • satisfy themselves the manufacturer has complied with the standards
  • ensure the name and contact details.
  • ensure instructions and safety information is in the appropriate language
  • monitor the product on the market
  • take corrective measures were required.

In addition to the above general obligations, the customs documentation may be required to include a declaration of conformity. This requirement depends on the particular product.

More generally customs, in conjunction with other regulators, would risk assess particular products as part of the customs return and they may intervene from the perspective of compliance if there is a risk of a breach. They may also intervene simply from the perspective of random policing of the rules.

The importer must affix the CE marking if the manufacturer has not done so. It must fulfil traceability obligations. It must ensure the products are accompanied by instructions and safety information.

The importer may be deemed to be the manufacturer where it places the product of the market under his name or trade name modifies the product already on the market in such a way that conformity with the declaration of performance may be affected.

Authorised Representatives

An authorised representative must be appointed by a manufacturer to undertake certain functions on its behalf in some cases. The EU legislation may oblige the manufacturer to designate an authorised representative, under the relevant legislation, depending on the product and its risk.

An authorised representative or responsible person established in the UK will not suffice after Brexit and a new authorised representative or responsible person would be required in the EU in the case of certain categories of product. The reverse may apply in the UK.

Labelling/ Contact Details

Generally, the contact details of the manufacturer or EU importer are required on the label itself or on the product. This will apply in respect of goods imported after the withdrawal date and made available after that date. The exact requirements depend on the particular product and would be broadly similar to those in which the manufacturers address now appears. They would require case-by-case consideration.

Importers details are required in the case of importers. Importers must indicate the name registered trademark and contact address in the construction product. Where this is not possible, it may be affixed to the packaging or document accompanying the product.

Importers are obliged to obtain and  pass on the declaration of performance with information on it where applicable. They may be required to accompany the documents on import as they can be checked. Where appropriate sample testing of construction products must be carried out to ensure accuracy reliability and stability of the declaration of performance.

The legislation for the particular product usually provides that importers shall ensure that, when making the product available on the market, that it is accompanied by instructions and safety information in a language which can be easily understood by users where the product is made available.