EU rules against unsafe products – NRC

Children’s toys with small parts, smoke detectors that ignore smoke and make-up with banned substances: In recent years people who bought products from countries outside Europe were not protected by European regulations on product safety. As of December 13, 2024, it is different, Ministry of Economic Affairs said Friday. A new European regulation will then come into force which will promote fair competition in addition to product safety.

Under the new rules, dropshippers are no longer allowed to resell goods from China at a profit to Dutch consumers. From now on, every product purchased must have a manufacturer or European branch in Europe that can be accessed by consumers and regulators. “A mailbox or registration at the Chamber of Commerce is not really enough,” a spokesman for Minister Miki Adriansens (Economic Affairs and Climate, VVD) said on Friday. NRC.

The Dutch buy things in bulk on the Internet. Earlier this year, for the first time in the Netherlands, there were more online stores than brick-and-mortar stores, it reported. Central Statistical Office. According to Consumers Union, 30 percent of online purchases come from countries outside the European Union: China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The online shopping craze has been causing problems for years, and old product safety guidelines from 2001 have no answer. Although China’s power bank is very cheap, it does not have to comply with European safety regulations. In 2019, the consumer association – as an experiment – purchased 250 products from popular foreign webshops such as AliExpress and Amazon. Two-thirds of these do not meet safety requirements.

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Another problem arises when the power bank starts smoking after the third use and causes a fire. The consumer cannot hold any party responsible for the consequences thereof. Anger, BNNVara’s YouTube project has repeatedly exposed dropshippers out of nowhere when products ordered in China are not delivered or turn out to be less robust than promised. Finally, Dutch companies experienced unfair competition from foreign companies, which did not have to comply with European safety rules.

Enforcement will be in the hands of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). If they find a product unsafe, the sites must remove it — as well as all similar products. NVWA responds to reports on the one hand and proactively searches for shops that violate the rules, says an Adriansens spokesperson. “We are under no illusions that this will keep all unsafe products out of Europe, but it is better than doing nothing.”

Ferdinand Woolridge

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