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The New EU General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR): What E-Commerce Sellers Need to Know
VAT Ai Team

The European Union has introduced a major update of its product safety rules with the new General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) 2023/988. This regulation, which takes effect on December 13, 2024, brings significant changes that e-commerce businesses selling products to EU consumers need to understand and prepare for.

What is the GPSR?

The new General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) replaces the previous General Product Safety Directive and strengthens the EU's product safety framework across the 27 member states. Its key aims are enhancing consumer protection, increasing business responsibility over product risks, and improving enforcement around unsafe products - including those sold via online marketplaces.

Which Products Are Covered?

The GPSR applies to almost all consumer products sold in the EU market, whether produced in the EU or imported. This includes electronics, clothing, toys, furniture, household appliances, food contact materials like packaging, and more. Both new and second-hand/refurbished products are covered under the new regulation.

What E-Commerce Sellers Need to Know?

If you sell consumer products to EU markets through e-commerce channels, here are the biggest GPSR changes to be aware of:

Stricter Product Safety Obligations

Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and online marketplaces face increased responsibilities for ensuring product safety and proactively identifying/mitigating risks. Each product must have a Responsible Person in the EU with additional product safety-related tasks, who will also act as a contact point for consumers and market surveillance authorities.

Traceability & Documentation Requirements

Products need clear labeling and identification to improve traceability for recalls. Documentation like technical files and safety testing records must be maintained.

Recall Processes and Penalties

The regulation mandates procedures for product recalls, including direct consumer outreach and standardized recall notices. Fines and penalties for violations are being increased significantly as a deterrent.

Online Marketplace Oversight

Online marketplaces and platforms like Amazon must validate seller/importer identities and cooperate with authorities in addressing unsafe products sold on their platforms.

Impacts Across the Supply Chain

While focused on consumer safety, the GPSR's stricter rules, documentation mandates, and threat of penalties create new compliance obligations across the entire product supply chain - from manufacturers and importers to distributors, online marketplaces, and fulfillment providers.

The new regulation aims to create a level playing field and consistent enforcement of product safety standards for both EU businesses and external sellers importing goods into the single market. Diligent preparation will be key for minimizing disruptions and costs.

E-commerce sellers will need to review their product lines, supplier relationships, safety processes, recall plans, contracts, and more to ensure full compliance with the GPSR by the end of the transition period in December 2024.

Planning to sell your products in the EU, UK or US market? Our trusted Authorised Representative services are here to ensure a seamless and compliant market entry for your products. Contact VAT Ai today to learn more.

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