Importers and distributors help ensure that only products compliant with EU legislation and bearing the CE marking are placed on the extended Single Market of the EEA. As they are the intermediaries between manufacturers and traders, they must have overall knowledge of the legal requirements and make sure that the products they distribute or import meet them.
When importing from non-EU countries, importers must check that products fulfil all EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements before placing them on the market. The importer has to verify that:
- the manufacturer outside the EU has taken the necessary steps to allow the product to be placed on the EU market
- the necessary documentation such as the EU Declaration of Conformity (27 KB) and the technical documentation is available upon request
- contact with the manufacturer is possible at any time
Distributors must handle the product carefully and they mustn’t affect its compliance with EU legislation. The distributor has to know which products must bear the CE marking and the accompanying documentation. They should be able to identify products that are not in compliance.
Distributors must be able to demonstrate to national authorities that they:
- have confirmation from the manufacturer or the importer that the necessary measures have been taken
- are able to assist national authorities in their efforts to receive the required documentation
If importers or distributors market the products under their own names, they take over the manufacturer’s responsibilities. In this case, they must have sufficient information on the design and production of the product because they will be assuming the legal responsibility when affixing the CE marking.