The EU aims to allow free circulation of all products throughout the EU - the Single Market concept - but complaints from producers and distributors to the European Commission show that blockages in the trade of industrial products still exist.
In order to address this issue, the Commission is working to identify and eliminate any gaps in the Single Market legislation, in particular if there are any obstacles to the trade of new products and new technologies, such as key enabling technologies or 3-D printing. Today the Commission therefore launched a consultation process which asks business and interested parties to inform the Commission about regulatory issues they encounter while trading industrial products within the EU. This public consultation is open to a wide stakeholder audience and the deadline for submissions is 17 April 2013.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "If we want the single market to help bring industry back to Europe and benefit all stakeholders, we need to make sure that the rules for marketing products are up to date with 21st century developments. A functioning internal market helps business sell their products abroad. I call on businesses to share their concerns with us, to help us abolish all barriers hindering the free trade of industrial goods."
Identifying barriers and simplify existing rules
A common set of EU rules governs some 75% of products allowing compliant goods to circulate freely across the EU. In the absence of EU legislation, the 'mutual recognition' principle applies, meaning that products lawfully marketed in one Member State can be marketed in another Member State without satisfying additional requirements.
The substantive questions of this consultation are divided into two parts. The first part deals with the remaining regulatory barriers for industrial products in the internal market. The second part covers the simplification of existing rules.
1. Identifying and eliminating the remaining barriers to the internal market for industrial products. Here the Commission wants to learn from stakeholders which are the remaining barriers and the most important issues that would need to be looked into by the Commission.
2. Simplification and alignment of existing rules: This part aims to identify overlaps, inconsistencies and even conflicts between different legislative texts. It therefore looks at the common features of different legislative texts, for instance relating to traceability or conformity marking, so as to ensure that the rules are coherent and do not create unnecessary burdens for economic operators and market surveillance authorities.
2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the EU's internal market, established with the primary aim of achieving social progress for all EU citizens. The internal market for products is one of the success stories not only of the internal market policy itself but of the EU in general.
The Consultation's objective is to enhance the quality and efficiency of the internal market legislation for industrial products. It will address the elimination of remaining trade barriers, in particular for products with high-growth potential (such as KET or 3-D printing), ensure more consistency in the application of the legislation, and simplify its management and implementation.