Lack of CE marking on a product requiring its application is a common problem for importers. This means that it will not be possible to introduce this product to the European market (countries of the European Economic Area and Turkey). What to do if a product does not have the required CE marking?
What is CE?
CE stands for “Conformité Européenne.” This mark placed on the product is the manufacturer’s declaration that the labeled product meets the requirements directives of the European Union. In other words, the product meets EU standards in terms of safety of use, quality, health, and safety. Not every product imported from China must have a CE mark. This applies only to specific product categories. Please note that CE is not a certificate, but a statement of the manufacturer about the conformity of the goods with European standards. This marking sometimes includes even a few certificates, which allow the manufacturer to issue a declaration of conformity, and consequently the possibility of affixing the CE marking on the product. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to obtain the possibility of CE marking. If an importer or distributor sells products under its brand name that takes over the obligations of the manufacturer, it takes legal responsibility for the affixing of the CE marking when it is placed on the European market.
No CE marking
In case of lack of the required CE marking or documents and certificates confirming the possibility of its issuance, the goods are detained by customs officers. Depending on the situation, there are several possibilities to solve this problem. In such a case, the customs office sends the documents to the Provincial Inspectorate of Trade Inspection, which issues the final decision on the further fate of the goods, with the proposed solutions to the problem. In the absence of documents confirming the possibility of CE marking on the supplier from China, the products could be destroyed or return to the sender. The goods can also be sent for certification already in Europe. We are obliged to cover all costs by ourselves. The so-called special procedures are applied when the supplier has all the relevant certificates, declarations and permits us to place the CE marking, which is missing on the product or packaging. The head of the customs office grants the authorization. This allows the importer to carry out corrective actions (e. g. affixing the CE marking to products, packaging).
- Inward processing procedure – it allows imports from outside the EU for processing (altering their nature or condition) and the marketing of the products resulting from those processes. For the duration of that procedure, they are not subject to customs duties, since they apply only to processed products. That is to say, at the time of release for free circulation. Inward processing shall also apply to modifications to comply with technical requirements and to the marketing authorization.
- Custom warehouse procedure – allows non-Union goods to be stored in a customs warehouse, but only for activities that do not change the nature of the product. These include simple operations to ensure that imported goods are stored in proper conditions during the period of storage, operations to improve the appearance or commercial quality of imported goods, operations to prepare imported goods for distribution or resale. This procedure, therefore, involves marking of the goods, instructions, etc. Also, during this period, products are periodically exempt from customs duties.
The importer bears all import costs to the customs warehouse.
No CE marking – how to protect against this?
It should be remembered that it is the importer who is obliged to check diligently whether the imported goods have the CE marking. The importer has to remember that the documentation and certificates required for CE marking are properly drawn up by the Chinese manufacturer. It is also the importer who is the first person who introduces a given product to the market of EEA countries and is directly responsible for its safety. The importer is to be responsible for placing a product on the market that is dangerous or does not have mandatory certificates and CE marking. It should also be remembered that the affixing of CE marking on goods that do not require it is also punishable.