EU technical requirements for imports
Goods imported into the EU must meet the EU technical requirements to protect consumers. Check the requirements applying to your product at the European Comission’s My export Helpdesk.
The main requirements can be classified in the sectors: product safety, technical standardisation , packaging, and labelling. Check the requirements applying to your product in the My export section of the European Commission Export Helpdesk.
The main requirements can be classified in the following sectors:
- Product Safety
Manufacturers and distributors must:
- supply products that comply with the general safety requirements
- inform consumers of the risks that a product might pose and any precautions they should take
- notify the relevant national authorities if they discover that a product is dangerous and cooperate with them on the action taken to protect consumers.
The EU member countries carry out market surveillance and enforce the product safety rules. They are assisted by EU mechanisms like RAPEX - the rapid exchange of information between EU countries and the European Commission on dangerous products. In addition to the general product safety rules, specific rules apply to certain categories of product, such as cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Information on specific product safety rules.
- Technical standardisation
The EU encourages its member countries to adopt harmonised technical standards.The basic principles of EU standardisation policy.
Conformity assessment: Conformity assessment procedures cover the design phase of products, their production phase or both, in a variety of ways: internal control of production, full quality assurance, etc. The essential requirements laid down in technical harmonisation directives are carried out by:
- the manufacturer, or
- a third party. 'Notified bodies' in each EU country are responsible for conformity assessment when a third party is required. More information on notified bodies
Mutual recognition agreements exist between the EU and certain non-EU countries which are on a comparable level of technical development and have a compatible approach to conformity assessment.
"CE" marking: CE marking indicates that a product complies with all the applicable essential requirements and has passed the relevant conformity assessment procedure. The CE marking:
- consists of the "CE" marking and the identification number of the notified body involved in the assessment (when required)
- is affixed to the product, its packaging or to the accompanying document
- enables the product to be placed on the EU market. More information on CE marking.
Authorised representative in the EU: Manufacturers in non-EU countries who wish to sell their products in the EU must appoint an authorised representative established in the EU to act on their behalf. They are responsible for designing and manufacturing products that comply with all applicable requirements and for carrying out the required conformity assessment procedure. Since 2008, new rules have been in place to remove the remaining obstacles to free movement of goods anywhere in the EU.
- Packaging: Packaging marketed in the EU must meet both environmental and health requirements. General rules on packaging and packaging waste.
- package sizing
- special rules for materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs
- Imports of packaging made of wood and other plant products may be subject to plant-health measures
In particular, wood packages (cases, boxes, crates, etc.) must go through one of the approved treatments specified in Annex I to FAO International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 and bear the corresponding mark as specified in Annex II.
Products marketed in the EU must comply with EU labelling requirements, intended to:
- protect consumers' health, safety and interests
- provide product information - content, composition, safe use and special precautions, etc.
More information on EU labelling rules for specific sectors (e.g. foodstuffs, household appliances, footwear, textiles, etc.)
EU Ecolabel: The EU Ecolabel or 'Flower logo' may be awarded to products that help improve the environment and provide consumer guidance on their environmental impact. There are basic rules and specific Ecolabel criteria for different product groups (e.g. textiles, footwear, cleaning products, household appliances, paper products, etc).
Manufacturers, importers, service providers, traders and retailers may apply for the Ecolabel to the relevant authority in the EU country where the product has been placed on the market. More information on the EU Ecolabel