European Union Authorised Representatives: A Complete Guide

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Article 4 and 5 of the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 requires that companies established outside the EU, but selling certain products to consumers in the single market, must have an authorised representative – in particular products that require CE marking.

In practice, this means that non-EU companies pay EU entities to act as their authorised representative. Further, the packaging must also include the name and address of the authorised representative.

In this guide, we explain how this works in practice, and what the consequences can be if you don’t have an authorised representative.

Related Articles

1. This guide only covers EU AR requirements within the scope of the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020. If you are looking for authorised representative requirements concerning medical devices, then you can find the relevant article here.

2. This guide covers authorised representative requirements in the UK.

What is an EU authorised representative?

An authorised representative acts on behalf of non-EU entities selling to consumers in the EU. An authorised representative must be a legal entity registered in an EU member state, and they must perform the following tasks, as stated under Article 4:

Verify documentation

1. Verify that the EU declaration of conformity or declaration of performance and technical documentation has been drawn up.

2. Keep a record of the declaration of conformity or declaration of performance at the disposal of market surveillance authorities for the period required by that legislation and ensure that the technical documentation can be made available to those authorities upon request*

*Normally 10 years.

Note: This means that non-EU sellers must provide a full set of compliance documents to the EU AR.

Communicate with national market surveillance authorities

1. Provide the national market surveillance authorities with all information and documentation necessary to demonstrate conformity. This can include the following:

  • Test reports
  • Risk assessment
  • Product labels
  • Packaging labels

2. When having reason to believe that a product in question presents a risk, informing the market surveillance authorities thereof.

Non-compliance action

Cooperating with the market surveillance authorities, including following a reasoned request making sure that the immediate, necessary, corrective action is taken to remedy any case of non-compliance.

Product packaging information

The following information must be affixed on the product packaging:

1. The company name of the EU authorised representative.

2. The postal address of the EU authorised representative.

Summary

In short, the EU AR requests and verifies documentation from the seller which supports that their products are compliant. As needed, they also communicate with the national market surveillance authorities in case they take action against the products due to compliance issues.

European Authorised Representative

Why do I need an authorised representative?

It is mandatory to have an authorised representative If you are established outside the EU and sell products that are covered by this requirement.

The customs authorities have the right to seize and destroy incoming shipments without an EU authorised representative address. In practice, this can result in the following for non-EU companies selling without an EU AR:

1. They can no longer sell through Amazon FBA.

2. They cannot ship from fulfilment centres (and could possibly face issues with freight forwarders at some point).

3. They must deal with a higher number of failed shipments (that the customers never receive as the package is seized and destroyed without compensation).

Which products require an authorised representative?

The Market Surveillance Regulation does not provide a product scope or product list. Instead, Article 4(5) states that the EU AR related provisions apply to the following regulations – which in turn covers products within a defined scope.

Regulation name Product name/scope
Construction Products Regulation (EU) 305/2011 Construction products
Personal Protective Equipment Regulation (EU) 2016/425 Personal protective equipment
Appliances Burning Gaseous Fuels Regulation (EU) 2016/426 Gas appliances and fittings
Noise Emissions in the Environment Directive 2000/14/EC Equipment for use outdoors (machinery)
Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC Machinery
Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC Toys
Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC Energy-related products
RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU Electrical and electronic equipment
Pyrotechnic Articles Directive 2013/29/EU Pyrotechnic articles
Recreational Craft Directive 2013/53/EU Recreational craft and personal watercraft
Simple Pressure Vessels Directive 2014/29/EU Simple pressure vessels
EMC Directive 2014/30/EU Electrical and electronic equipment
Non-automatic Weighing Instruments Directive 2014/31/EU Non-automatic weighing instruments
Measuring Instruments Directive 2014/32/EU Measuring instruments
ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres
Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU Electrical and electronic equipment
Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU Radio equipment
Pressure Equipment Directive 2014/68/EU Pressure equipment

Is an authorised representative required for CE marked products?

Yes, if your company is located outside the EU and you are selling products that fall within the scope of one or more CE marking directives listed in Article 4(5) to consumers, then you must have an authorised representative.

What kind of companies need to use a European authorised representative?

This is written under point 18:


The economic operators who should perform those tasks are the manufacturer, or the importer when the manufacturer is not established in the Union, or an authorised representative mandated by the manufacturer for this purpose, or a fulfilment service provider established in the Union for products handled by it when no other economic operator is established in the Union.


Here’s an overview of different businesses and how the EU AR requirements may impact them.

Cross-border e-commerce sellers

Cross-border sellers are probably the main target. This makes sense, as cross-border sellers from China, and elsewhere, are shipping products that fail to meet EU safety standards, labelling, and documentation requirements. As of 2021, cross-border sellers need an EU authorised representative.

Non-EU based manufacturers

Manufacturers selling directly to consumers in the EU must also have an authorised representative, for the same reasons as explained above. This is not the case for manufacturers selling B2B to EU-based importers.

Companies selling from fulfillment centers

This is stated on the EU website:


In order to ensure that market surveillance authorities can carry out their responsibilities effectively and to avoid a gap in the enforcement system, it is appropriate to include fulfilment service providers within the list of economic operators against whom it is possible for market surveillance authorities to take enforcement measures.


This is further clarified by SGS:


The fulfillment service provider becomes responsible when there is no representative in the EU (a fulfillment service provider is a person or company offering at least two of the following services: warehousing, packaging, addressing and dispatching, without having ownership of the products involved; courier and postal companies are specifically excluded).


In short, fulfilment centres must implement measures to verify product compliance for sellers shipping products to the EU.

Amazon Sellers

This is stated  in the Amazon Seller Central:


If you sell CE-marked products that are manufactured outside of the EU, you will need to ensure that such products have a Responsible Person in the EU prior to July 16, 2021. After July 16, 2021, it will be illegal to sell CE-marked products in the EU without an EU Responsible Person. All CE marked products are covered by this rule except for medical devices, explosives for civil uses, and certain lifts and cableway installations.


Amazon is also offering its own authorised representative service for FBA sellers. That being said, they only accept you as a customer as long as you can prove that your products are fully compliant, tested, correctly labelled, and documented.

Do EU importers need an authorised representative?

EU-based importers cannot use an authorised representative as they are already responsible for the products they import. This responsibility cannot be transferred to another company.

Where can I find an authorised representative?

There are many companies offering authorised representative services in the EU. For example, ProductIP offers a yearly service package from 2000 EUR. In addition, they also charge 225 EUR per hour if they need to act on behalf of a non-EU company – for example when communicating with market surveillance authorities.

Here are some companies offering EU AR services:

  • 24hour-AR
  • QIMA
  • ProductIP
  • AR Experts
  • Authorised Rep Compliance
  • TerrainQ Market Access
  • Authorised Representative Service
  • Certification Company
  • Obelis Group
  • Earn
  • GLOBALNORM
  • CIRS
  • Clever Representative

You can find more information on this page.

How much does an authorised representative cost?

The price differs between service providers. For example, here is the current pricing offered by ProductIP:

  • Annual fee: 1800 EUR
  • Hourly rate: 225 EUR
  • Deposit: 2000 EUR

Note that these rates are subject to change and may already be outdated.

What kind of documentation is needed from the seller?

The exact documentation depends on the product, and how strict the authorised representative is. Here is a general overview:

Compliance documents

  • Test reports
  • Declaration of Conformity
  • Technical documentation
  • User manual
  • Product images
  • Product labels
  • Packaging artwork

Business license/company registration document

You must provide a business license or other evidence of incorporation. This differs depending on the country and jurisdiction.

Product liability insurance

This is often easier said than done, especially for foreign companies. Further, product liability insurance providers also require the submission of compliance documents in many cases.

Examples

United Kingdom: Certificate of Incorporation

Hong Kong: Business Registration Certificate

EU AR Agreement

Here is an example of an EU authorised representative Service Agreement which covers the following:

  • Service scope
  • Products
  • General terms
  • Authorised Representative’s Duties and Responsibilities
  • Covered regulations/directives
  • Fees

Note that this list is based on ProductIP’s document requirements. The documentation requirements may vary depending on the service provider.

Can non-EU companies act as authorised representatives?

No, that would defeat the entire purpose of having an authorised representative in the first place.

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      Disclaimer: The Site cannot and does not contain legal advice. The legal information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of legal advice. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THE SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

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      Sources: Our articles are written in part based on publicly available information, and our own practical experience relating to product compliance. These are some of the primary sources we use:

      • ec.europa.eu
      • echa.europa.eu
      • ecfr.gov
      • cpsc.gov
      • ftc.gov
      • fcc.gov
    • 20 Responses to “European Union Authorised Representatives: A Complete Guide

      1. Uğur Bilgin at 6:35 am

        Hello Fredrik
        My company is non-EU.
        1) Is it possible for me to appoint a very close friend of mine based in the EU as EAR?
        2) Where do we report the agreement we made between ourselves? How will it be determined that he is my company’s EAR?
        How does this process work?
        I can’t thank you enough for providing us with such great content.

        1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 11:15 am

          Hello Uğur,

          I am not aware of any such arrangement so I cannot say.

      2. John at 1:14 am

        Hello Fredrik,
        If a HK based company is buying from a manufacturer in Spain and selling B2C to consumers in France via Amazon, the HK company is required to add EC REP logo ? Thanks in advance.

      3. Mrsa Mallia at 6:23 pm

        Hi Fredrick,

        Thank you for this article.
        Can you please quote the clause in which the authorised representative is enforced?

      4. John Kitts at 7:04 pm

        Hi
        We have a branch in the Netherlands called Timesource Ltd – Netherlands Branch but has no employees. Can the CEO of the UK company be the Responsible person?
        regards
        John

        1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 12:18 pm

          Hi John,

          Is this the company importing the products (e.g. B2B) into the EU or are you selling B2C from the UK to the EU?

      5. Emdad at 7:10 am

        Hello Fredrick,

        Thanks for your articles they have been very helpful.
        I have a few questions that I need more clarification. I will list them here but first a quick overview:

        Summary:
        My company is based in the UK and we are signed up with Amazon FBA UK to sell only in the UK marletplace and we plan to launch a product in the “Toys and games” category.

        We have read the Toys directive regulations for the UK and have made sure our product complies to all the requirements. However Amazon still dont approve.

        Could you please help me on the following points:

        1. Why do I need an EU representative if my company is based in the UK and we only plan to sell in the UK marketplace?

        2. For markings on packaging we have got our supplier to prepare the conformity tests for UKCA marking and CE marking. We have also added to 0-3 age restriction logo on our product packaging. Are we missing any other markings for our product.

        3. If we need a UK representative for our toy product where can I find this? Or can I put myself as a UK representative?

        4. I get my supplier from China to make the products and send to amazon FBA warehouse. What information would I need on my product packaging for selling toys?

        1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 12:27 pm

          Hi Emded,

          1. I don’t think you need an EU AR in that case. But, my understanding is that the UK will also implement their own AR requirement.

          2. I cannot say that based on the information you provided. You should contact a lab.

          3. We don’t have a list of UK ARs at this point

          4. Same as question 2.

      6. Aaron at 1:38 am

        Hi,

        I am UK based FBA seller in electronics category, we only cater to UK MARKET and do not list our products in EU countries, do we still need to declare a EU representative?

        1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 11:22 am

          Hi Aaron,

          Not if you don’t sell in the EU or ship to consumers in the EU.

          1. Emdad at 11:35 pm

            What if your product needs CE marking but you only sell in UK?

            1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 12:25 pm

              My understanding is that the CE mark is still required for some products in the UK. I don’t think they dropped all safety and compliance requirements overnight when they left the EU.

            2. Anssi Ilmari Tynjala at 11:42 pm

              UK moved to the UKCA Certification framework, check the exact requirements with local authoryties

      7. Auggie at 1:57 am

        Hello Fredrik,
        Thanks for your articles!
        We want to sell toys on Amazon.co.uk and we’ve signed up UK authorized representative, however we still received the email from Amazon following:
        Hello from Amazon Selling Partner Support, Thank you for your application to sell [Toys] products. We’ve reviewed the documentation you provided and determined that it does not meet the following reasons:
        File Name: [Product Packaging Picture]

        • [The images provided do not meet the EU labelling guidelines, which state that address on the label must be in an EU country. Please provide product images that meet this requirement.]

        Now I’m wondering that an EU address is necessary even if Brexit?
        What’s your suggestion?
        Thanks!

        1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 3:49 pm

          Hi Auggie,

          That depends. Are you selling to Amazon in the UK or the EU?

          If the EU then you’ll need an EU AR, not a UK AR.

      8. Ji at 8:20 am

        Hello Fredrik,
        I find your articles are really useful.
        We are based in UK and selling licensed product in UK and EU. Most of EU sales are through our distributors. Do we still need EU AR? My understanding was if we are selling the product through the distributors, they will be act as AR as importer?

        Also we are selling our product through Amazon and I guess We will need AR for Amazon sales as this is B2C?

        Thanks

        1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 10:01 am

          Hi Ji,

          My understanding is that this does not impact EU importers, as they are already responsible. ProductIP.com also made it clear that an importer in the EU cannot appoint an AR.

          So, if your distributors are importing the product into the EU then this would not apply to them.

          Yes, Amazon has more info about that on their page. There is a link in the article.

      9. Joanna at 9:12 pm

        Hi Fredrik,
        Is there a requirement to put any logo next to the EU Rep address on the packaging? For example, I have seen a “EC REP” logo that must be placed on medical devices, but I’m not sure if this applies to all types of products (we make pyrotechnics category F1, which are also CE marked). Is it enough to just put EU AR + address?
        Thanks

        1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 3:44 pm

          Hello Joanna,

          For medical devices, this has been a requirement much longer. I have not heard of any EU REP logo yet.

        2. Anssi Ilmari Tynjala at 11:50 pm

          It´s not a logo it´s a labeling symbol consisting in the EC and the REP inside 2 boxes followed by this figure details. You can search in google for EC REP symbol and look at the pics as example. If the products are CE marked and you are not the selfdeclared manufacturer it should be in place.

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