Distribution requirements in the EU
Many obligations for distributors and importers
The sale of products in Germany and in the EU as a whole is subject to many legal restrictions. Suppliers based outside the EU are often surprised about all the regulations they have to comply with when planning to sell products within the EU as a whole or Germany. There are many registration obligations, standards to comply with etc. The law generally prohibits the sale of the products, imposes heavy fines and gives rise to expensive warnings and procedures against the distribution from competitors.
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.
If you want to sell batteries or rechargeable batteries in Europe, the person who imports the batteries into the EU or places them on the market for the first time must register them in all countries separately in which he wants to distribute the batteries; in Germany you have to register with the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) in the Battery register. Regular notifications of quantities must be submitted.
The importer has to organise the disposal process (Waste management system) for which he typically needs to contract with a disposal company or disposal system.
Any failure to comply with these obligations may result in high 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 (2006/42/EC)
If products fall under the Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC), a conformity assessment must be carried out. The machine requires a CE marking and an EC declaration of conformity which has to accompany the machine. 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 ((EU/305/2011)
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 (EU/305/2011)U/305/2011) 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 (2009/48/EC)
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.