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Do you need to appoint an Authorised Representative to sell products into the EU?

View profile for Julia Seary
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With Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 coming into force, from 16 July 2021 every business from outside the EU selling products directly or indirectly should have either an importer or an authorised representative located in the EU acting as an ‘economic operator’ / liaison between the manufacturer based outside of the EU and the national authority within the EU.

If a manufacturer located outside of the EU sells a product directly to the end user within the EU without establishing a known European economic operator, the EU has no control over the consumer protection and there is a risk of unsafe products entering the market.  Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 was established to address this problem. It will be effective from 16 July 2021 and it will require all sellers to have an economic operator within the EU. As such, every business from outside the EU selling products directly or indirectly should have either an importer or an authorised representative located in the EU. An authorised representative may be of added value in that the manufacturer may not want the importer to be the one who has access to its full technical file, as it can often contain essential business knowledge.

  • Importer = any natural or legal person established within the EU who places a product from a third (non-European) country on the European market.
     
  • Authorised representative = any legal or natural person, established within the EU who has received a written approval from a manufacturer to act on its behalf in relation to specified tasks regarding the manufacturer’s duties under the relevant harmonisation legislation. The authorised representative acts as a liaison between the non-European manufacturer and a national authority within the EU. The authorised representative acts as a contact point for companies selling products to EU consumers, when the company does not have any actual presence or an address anywhere in the EU.

From 16 July 2021 you will need to appoint an authorised representative based in the EU, EEA or Northern Ireland if you sell certain goods without using an importer or fulfilment service provider, for example if you sell online and ship directly to the end user.