Distribution requirements in the EU

Many obligations for distributors and importers

The sale of products in Germany and in in the EU as a whole is subject to many restrictions. Suppliers based outside the EU are often surprised at the regulations they have to comply with when selling products within the EU or Germany. There are many registration obligations. If these are not complied with, the law generally prohibits the sale of the products, imposes heavy fines and gives rise to expensive warnings from competitors.

Some examples:

1. Electrical or electronical products

Before electrical products can be sold, they must be registered with the Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte. Regularly quantities must be reported to this Stiftung/Agency. The electrical product itself requires a CE marking and an EU declaration of conformity. An authorised representative within the EU must be appointed. In particular, the latter is responsible for providing the supervisory authorities with all necessary documentation on the conformity assessment upon request and for being the contact for the supervisory authorities in all other respects.

2. Batteries

If you want to sell batteries or rechargeable batteries in Germany, the person who imports the batteries into Germany or places them on the market for the first time must register them with the Federal Environment Agency in the Battery register. Regular notifications of quantities must be submitted.

Any failure to comply with these obligations may result in fines. A sales ban exists quasi automatically.

Please be aware that you have to comply with all these obligations even if you are not distributing batteries as such but also if the battery is embedded in the product!

3. Products according to the Machinery Directive

If products fall under the Machinery Directive, a conformity assessment must be carried out. The machine requires a CE marking and an EC declaration of conformity. An authorised representative within the EU must be appointed. In particular, the latter is responsible for providing the supervisory authorities with all necessary documentation on conformity assessment upon request and for being the contact for the supervisory authorities in all other respects.

4. Construction products

According to the Construction Products Directive, a conformity assessment procedure must be carried out for construction products. Before this is succesfully finalized, it must be clarified whether the Construction Products Directive or other EU-Directives are to be applied. Which technical standards have to be fulfilled before you can get permissions or positive testings.

Where appropriate, specific declarations may need to be requested for specific evaluations.

5. Toys

A type approval is often required for toys before distribution in the EU is allowed. In addition, CE marking and, depending on the product, EC declarations of conformity or EU declarations of conformity must be drawn up. If appropriate, so-called notified bodies must issue permits or declarations.

The importer must identify the responsible notified body and fulfil all requirements. Sometimes it is much easier to have this coordinated by qualified advisers.

6. Lighting devices for vehicles

Lighting devices for vehicles regularly need a K marking or a Z marking to be allowed to be sold in Germany. Extensive testing must be carried out before such lighting devices may be placed on the market. The Federal Motor Transport Authority must issue the K marking or the Z marking.

Foreign importers often need help to get through these registration procedures.

Consulting needs for companies

Companies are often overwhelmed by the administrative procedures that have to be completed before a sale in the EU or in Germany can begin. We have therefore specialised in assisting companies in fulfilling these obligations. We would be glad to advise you on the guidelines and regulations to be observed, coordinate registration and support you in applying for the necessary permits or issuing test numbers to the Federal Motor Transport Authority.