The German Market Surveillance Conference (DMÜK) takes place every year in autumn in Berlin. This year's conference took place on September 14 and 15, 2022 at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Berlin Steglitz. Guests included market surveillance authorities, legal firms, various market players and their associations, and of course us: GLOBALNORM's COMPLIANCE team. This short summary brings the most important topics to the point.
Product compliance must become more attractive!
All market players are aware of the fact that it is unfortunately more expensive to market a compliant product than a non-compliant one! On the part of the legislator, it is therefore necessary to deliberately create risks so that it is no longer worthwhile to place non-conforming products on the market. In addition, the principle of promoting compliant market players applies.
Market surveillance: ambition vs. reality
Market surveillance is one of the core tasks of the (federal) state authorities. Communication between the state authorities and within the EU member states is (to say the least) expandable. Those interested in more background on how market surveillance actors work can take a look at the "Handlungsanleitung für die Ausführung der Marktüberwachung in Deutschland" (in German). Last updated in 2018, this guidance is intended to provide a comprehensible description of the tools developed and established by the Länder and to enable efficient and effective market surveillance. However, the reality is different.
Market surveillance can take place in two ways: reactively, for example, when goods are inspected by customs upon importation. In contrast, with active market surveillance, authorities become active on their own initiative and carry out market surveillance actions. However, the financial resources for this are limited - and the trend is upward. The technical equipment to monitor products in online trade in particular and to enforce the law are backward.
Enforcement on the Internet in particular is proving difficult, as has been reported. Authorities are actually allowed to take samples in retail stores, but on the net these samples must first be purchased. This is done with credit cards of the authorities. A concealed purchase is not possible for various reasons. The everyday life of the official monitoring the online market is so far tedious manual work. Now, for the first time, the use of web crawlers to identify conspicuous products was reported at the German Market Surveillance Conference 2022.
The digital product passport (DPP) is coming!
A total of six presentations at the Market Surveillance Conference addressed the DDP from different angles. Among other things, it was reported that the DPP is currently being presented in various stages of development in the draft battery regulation and the draft eco-design regulation - i.e. sector-specific. However, the audience agreed that in the future, the DPP would be better anchored uniformly in a horizontal legal act. Trials of what a digital product passport might look like in practice are already underway.
A new General Product Safety Regulation and the Digital Services Act (DSA)
The EU Commission is currently revising product safety regulations, and the Digital Services Act (DSA) is being created at the same time.
This revision of the General Product Safety Regulation for consumer products focuses on, among other things:
- The safety of products related to new technologies and the challenges posed by the growth of online sales;
- Ensuring better enforcement and more efficient and consistent market surveillance;
- Improving the recall of dangerous products in the hands of consumers.
Together with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the Digital Services Act (DSA) forms a single set of new rules that will apply across the EU to create a safer and more open digital space.
The DSA and DMA have two main objectives:
- Create a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of all users of digital services are protected;
- Creating a level playing field to foster innovation, growth and competitiveness both in the European single market and globally.
If you would like to discuss any of the above topics with us, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!