EU concerned about low level of compliance with R&TTE Directive

The European Commission arranged a meeting of Market Surveillance Authorities (MSA’s) on 11th September 2007. The meeting, at OFCOM headquarters, was arranged to discuss the low level of compliance with the requirements of the R&TTE Directive that a market surveillance campaign undertaken by the MSA’s in 2005/2006 had identified.

In fact the EU concluded that only 6% of the SRD’s they examined fully met the requirements of the R&TTE Directive. The LPRA, as a Trade Association representing SRD manufacturers, was invited to attend and sent three representatives.

The EU intends to organise a workshop early in 2008 “to obtain more information from stakeholders in order to better interpret the results of the 2005-2006 (SRD Compliance) campaign” and to improve compliance in the future.

Issues discussed included the following:

  • Mass market products vs. Professional products – the survey results did not distinguish between these vastly different areas
  • Much Technical Documentation was deemed to be inadequate – is this a result of ignorance, confidentiality concerns or lack of surveillance?
  • How effective is market surveillance and are deterrents sufficiently stringent?
  • Do importers fully understand their role and responsibilities in the chain?
  • Is technical compliance due to conflicts with other (economic) requirements?
  • Are the technical limits in Harmonised Standards too stringent?
  • Is there an increase in interference resulting from non-compliant products?
  • What effect does non-compliance have on the level playing field for producers?
  • What role do and should Notified Bodies have in the compliance process (It was noted that many products claimed to be fully compliant with Harmonised Standards, yet many non-compliant products still referenced Notified Bodies in their documentation)?

MSA’s from the UK, France, Italy Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Spain attended the meeting. The views presented ranged from strict assessment for compliance with all technical and administrative requirements and thorough investigation of any cases of reported interference, through to investigation of cases of interference if resources allowed!

The LPRA team strongly supported the position of their members and the professional SRD industry in general and stated that a level playing field was crucial to the continued innovation and growth of new applications in the SRD arena. In addition a wide disparity between the approaches of market surveillance authorities in different member states was adding to the uncertainty. It was also felt that the way the regulations were applied discriminated against European producers in many instances, since the sanctions that could effectively be applied against importers or non EU based producers were severely limited.

In conclusion the meeting attendees agreed to provide additional input to the EU to facilitate their workshop organisation. The LPRA was offered the opportunity to present their views on the surveillance campaign and improvements to the legislation at this workshop and agreed to do so. Papers would also be sought from Administrations, MSA’s, a Notified Body, the Chinese Embassy (on Chinese export controls) and other relevant trade associations.

The LPRA representatives at the meeting were Saad Mezzour, Chairman, John Falck, Vice Chairman and John Hallatt, Council Member.