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Standards/Product Safety Sectors

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MR-165 EU Regulatory Framework for Building Products (updated)

Summary
With the adoption of the Construction Products Directive (CPD) in 1988, the European Commission laid the groundwork for a “single market” for construction projects and building products in the European Union (EU). Existing legislation CPD 89/106/EC will be replaced by the newly adopted Construction Products Regulation (CPR) 305/2011 on July 1, 2013. The new legislation introduces simplified certification procedures for small manufacturers and manufacturers of custom-made building products. It also includes new essential requirements addressing accessibility, sustainability and use of dangerous substances.

MR-140 / Energy-Using Products (Eco-design and Energy Efficiency)

Summary
Products which use sources of energy, such as televisions, computers, fans, lighting, will be subject to new mandatory EU energy efficiency requirements in the near future. With the adoption of a framework directive 2005/32/EC in 2005, the European Commission laid the groundwork for specific "implementing measures" affecting a broad range of energy using products (EuP). The goal is to minimize the use of energy at the design stage and throughout production, transport, packaging, etc. Products in compliance with EuP implementing measures can be easily recognized because they will carry a CE marking. The CE marking will cover relevant product safety (if applicable) as well as energy efficiency requirements.

MR-125 / The EU's Globally Harmonized System of the Classification & Labeling of Chemicals

Summary
For companies involved in global trade, complying with different labeling requirements can be expensive, tricky, and often inefficient.

To address this problem, the United Nations adopted the “Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals” (GHS) as a non-binding resolution. Recently, the European Commission proposed to implement the United Nation’s GHS system into law.

The Commission aims to time the GHS's entry into force as closely as possible to REACH to allow consistency of transitional arrangements of GHS and REACH. 

Our latest Market Research Report explains the European Union's Globally Harmonised System and provides advice on how companies can comply with the GHS's requirements.

MR-109 / The New Machine Directive

Summary
Machines are subject to product safety requirements in the European Union. At the end of 2009, the legislation currently in force (Directive 98/37/EC) will be replaced by the recently adopted "New Machinery Directive" 2006/42/EC. This report will focus on the steps to comply with the new machinery directive, highlighting some of the changes compared to the existing legislation. Manufacturers who already sell on the EU market will want to consider the implications of the new machinery directive for their product.

MR-86 / Better Energy Performance of Buildings in the European Union as of 2006

Summary
The European Commission has ambitiously set itself a target of a 20 percent energy savings by 2020 within the European Union (EU). According to EU reports, 40 percent of energy is consumed in buildings. To address these concerns, the EU adopted new legislation on energy performance of buildings that will enter into force on January 4, 2006. The directive (law) 2002/91/EC provides for the application of minimum standards of energy efficiency to buildings in every country in the EU and the creation of a certificate to inform buyers or tenants of the energy performance of buildings. EU member states have the right to impose additional national requirements, including choosing their own energy performance certificate for the building. Even though the majority of EU member states may not have the framework for implementation of the energy performance directive in place by January 2006, U.S. manufacturers of construction products are advised to evaluate the energy performance of their construction products in line with EU energy saving requirements. In the U.S., a comparable assessment and certification system known as Residential Energy Services Network [www.resnet.org] exists but there is no equivalency with EU.

MR-74 / EU Product Warranty Directive

Summary
With the goal of strengthening the European Union’s internal market, the European Commission approved legislation on May 25, 1999 that harmonizes the guarantees on consumer goods. Directive 1999/44/EC, hereafter referred to as the Product Warranty Directive, aims to protect consumers who make purchases outside of their Member State. The Directive sets up minimum standards for product warranties and mandates a warranty period of at least 2 years. Sellers whose products are found not to conform to the “contract” between the buyer and seller at the time the goods were delivered are required to replace or repair the nonconforming goods free of charge; reduce the price of the goods; or release the consumer from the “contract.” The legislation was to be transposed into National Law by all EU Member States and enter into effect January 1, 2002. This updated report discusses the implications of this legislation for producers and consumers across the 25 Member States.

MR-72 / Language Requirements for Product Labels

Summary
Using the appropriate language on product labels is vital to ensuring consumer understanding of a product’s use, safety, and environmental impact. There are currently 22 official languages in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The use of language on labels has been the subject of a 1993 Commission communication, the gist of which is to encourage multilingual information, while preserving the freedom of Members States to require the use of language of the country of consumption. At present, language requirements are a national issue in which Member States determine the appropriate language/languages necessary for labels on products in certain industries.

MR-70 / Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Directive: Pertaining to paints, varnishes, and vehicle refinishing products

Summary
VOCs, volatile organic compounds, are organic solvents used in a broad range of industrial processes and are often found in the final products from those activities e.g. paints, adhesives, and inks. A high accumulation of ozone gas in the lower atmosphere can be harmful to people, animals, crops, and other materials. In reaction to this issue, the EU adopted Directive 2001/81/EC establishing national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants, including VOCs. Additionally, the EU has recently adopted Directive 2004/42/CE, on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain paints, varnishes, and vehicle refinishing products. The recent directive (amending Directive 1999/13/EC) aims to harmonize limit values for the content of VOCs in the products (paints, varnishes, vehicle refinishing products) to ensure that the limits do not restrict the free movement of these products in the market. The directive went into force on April 30, 2004, and Member States must transpose the directive into national law by October 30, 2005.

MR-62 / The EU's Directive on Construction Products

Summary
With the adoption of the Construction Products Directive (CPD) in 1988, the Commission laid the groundwork for a "single market" for construction products in the EU. Entry into force of the CPD, which covers a wide range of products from log home kits to thermal insulation, was not immediate because the EU regulator still needed to determine the relevant conformity assessment procedures, as only then could the European standards organizations start to develop the required standards. The process has since gained momentum, so that today there are over 227 construction product standards that have already been adopted, and about the same amount are in the pipeline. Unlike other "New Approach" Directives, for this industry, the use of harmonzed standards is the only route to CE marking because the standards specify exact performance criteria, test methods, and conformity assessment to apply the required mark.

MR-49 / Changes in EU Legislation Relating to Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Summary
The Commission has reviewed directive 89/336/EEC relating to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) as part of their program to simplify and streamline requirements. The new directive 2004/108/EC will go into force on July 20, 2007 at which point directive 89/336/EEC will become obsolete. Electrical/electronic products compliant with 89/336/EEC will still be accepted on the market until July 20, 2009. Key changes for the better are the general acceptance of conformity assessment based on self-certification, a clearer definition of scope and exemptions, elimination of competent bodies, and more emphasis on labeling and documentation to facilitate inspection and improve market surveillance.

MR-36 / The European Union’s General Product Safety Directive

Summary
The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), originally adopted in 1992 and amended in 2001, covers the safety of products intended to be sold to consumers within the European Union. The scope and requirements are broad and horizontal, as it is a “catch-all” directive covering products and related aspects that are not otherwise regulated in EU legislation. Instead of harmonizing national requirements across Europe as is the case for many other areas, the GPSD recognizes the validity of separate national legislation for product safety. However, a new element in the recently amended GPSD, 2001/95/EC, is the use of European (EN) standards which “give presumption of conformity” with the GPSD across the EU. A first list of EN standards was published in April 2004, with more to follow.

MR-35 / ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute

Summary
ETSI is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, the European Standards Developing Organization for the telecommunications sector. ETSI is active in a number of related areas including radio communications, broadcasting and Information Technology. ETSI is probably most famous for developing the GSM wireless standard, in use throughout Europe and much of the world.

MR-34 / Quality of electricity problems in the European Union cause concern for industry

Summary
Serious problems with product liability could arise with electrical products in the European Union (EU) as a result of power surges allowed by European Union standard EN 50160:2000, Voltage Characteristics of Electricity Supplied by Public Distribution Systems. There is a mismatch between the allowed 6 kV voltage surge specified in the EU standard and the 2.5kV surge allowed by IEC standard 60664-1, used as the basis for the safety of consumer electronics, telecommunication and IT electrical equipment. Summary

This report advises U.S. industry of a new requirement to CE mark in vitro diagnostics (IVD) exported to the European Union and European Economic Area. The safety mark is mandatory as of December 8, 2003.

MR-5 / Outdoor Machinery and Equipment Subject to New EU Noise Emission Directive

Summary
To simplify existing noise pollution legislation, the European Commission created a framework for the reduction of noise emitted by equipment used outdoors. Manufacturers of such equipment are required to apply a CE mark indicating the "guaranteed sound power level."

MR-103 / European Union: EU Marking, Labeling and Packaging- An Overview

Summary
There is a broad array of EU legislation pertaining to the marking, labeling and packaging of products, with neither an “umbrella” law covering all goods nor any central directory containing information on marking, labeling and packaging requirements. This overview is meant to provide the reader with a general introduction to the multitude of marking, labeling and packing requirements or marketing tools to be found in the EU.

MR-102 / European Union: Proposal for an Origin Marking Scheme for Imported Products

Summary
Following an extensive consultation process begun in 2003, the European Commission has proposed a regulation for an origin-marking scheme for imported products. The proposal was prompted as a result of a number of European Union Member States and industry sectors calling for mandatory origin marking to curb misleading marking on imported products. The Commission’s proposed regulation, which will mandate the compulsory use of origin marking for imports of certain goods such as textiles, apparel, footwear, ceramics, etc could become fully operational during the 2nd half of 2007.

MR-101 / European Union: Metric-Only Requirements for the European Union begin 2010

Summary
Beginning January 1, 2010, the European Union Council Directive 80/181/EEC (Metric Directive) will allow the use of only metric units, and prohibit the use of any other measurements for most products sold in the European Union (EU).

Going well beyond labeling, the Metric Directive will make the sole use of metric units obligatory in all aspects of life in the European Union, extending to areas such as product literature and advertising.

MR-87 / EU Franchising

Summary
This report covers the EC Directives that relate to Franchisors entering the market, namely, the exemptions to the EU’s general anti-trust law, the European Franchising Federation (EFF) and their ‘Code of Ethics’ that covers IPR protection and the relevant contacts for the individual Member State Franchising organizations.

MR-85 / Entry into the European Union Legal Services Market: Prospects for non-EU Lawyers

Summary
The EU provides for the free movement of lawyers and legal services within its borders by allowing lawyers of EU citizenship to practice in any Member State with little difficulty. However, this mobility does not extend to lawyers from non-EU countries, and can even put American businesses, law firms, and individual lawyers wishing to practice law or do business within the EU at a disadvantage. This report examines the EU regulations for EU lawyers, Member State rules for non-EU lawyers and problems encountered by U.S. firms doing business in the EU.

MR-74 / EU Product Warranty Directive

Summary
With the goal of strengthening the European Union’s internal market, the European Commission approved legislation on May 25, 1999 that harmonizes the guarantees on consumer goods. Directive 1999/44/EC, hereafter referred to as the Product Warranty Directive, aims to protect consumers who make purchases outside of their Member State. The Directive sets up minimum standards for product warranties and mandates a warranty period of at least 2 years. Sellers whose products are found not to conform to the “contract” between the buyer and seller at the time the goods were delivered are required to replace or repair the nonconforming goods free of charge; reduce the price of the goods; or release the consumer from the “contract.” The legislation was to be transposed into National Law by all EU Member States and enter into effect January 1, 2002. This updated report discusses the implications of this legislation for producers and consumers across the 25 Member States.

MR-52 / Understanding EU Customs

Summary
Although the European Union is a customs union with a Community Customs Code and a harmonized tariff system for product classification, the EU lacks a single customs administration for the Community. Many important aspects of customs administration in the EU are handled differently by various Member State customs authorities, resulting in some inconsistencies from country to country. This research report aims to help companies understand the EU’s Customs Classification and Tariffs system as well as provide assistance in the area of customs advocacy.

MR-44 / Commercial Agents in the European Union

Summary
U.S. companies interested in entering or expanding business in the European Union may find the use of commercial agents an attractive way to access the market. However, companies should be aware of EU regulations and policies that may affect relationships between principals and their commercial agents. This report reviews the provisions outlined by “Council Directive 86/653/EEC on the coordination of the laws of the Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents,” and how its application by the European Union Member States has implications for U.S. businesses in the European Union.

MR-25 / EU Competition Rules May Affect Distribution Agreements

Summary
U.S. companies interested in expanding their business in Europe should be aware of certain EU regulations that may affect distribution agreements. Analogous to antitrust laws in the United States, EU competition rules, which apply to both goods and services circulating in countries within the European Union, prohibit certain practices concerning vertical restrictions.

MR-15 / What U.S. exporters need to know about European Union Value Added Tax

Summary
Understanding the European Union’s Value Added Tax (VAT) rules can seem daunting for US exporters. It is a complex area with multiple rules and multiple exceptions to those rules. Nevertheless there are some basic principles that underpin the system and this report focuses on those. This report examines the different ways in which EU VAT law impacts U.S. exporters supplying goods and services to EU customers, both from the U.S. and from within the EU.