The European Commission is in the process of reviewing the EU General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC ("GPSD"), which related to non-food consumer products. A legislative proposal is anticipated for the second half of 2011. The review of the GPSD will be substantive and will have a real impact on the regulatory landscape affecting the safety of products manufactured and sold in the EU.

A key part of the reform is the alignment of the GPSD on the provisions of the so-called "Goods package" adopted in 2008 and comprising Regulation 765/2008/EC on accreditation and market surveillance and Decision 768/2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products. Our experience is that Regulation 765/2008 is not well known among industry even though it has been applicable since 1 January 2010 to all products subject to EU harmonized rules, consumer and non consumer products, including chemicals. Also, Decision 768/2008 contains novel provisions on the responsibilities of economic operators, including traceability requirements, that are already applicable in some sectors and that the Commission would like to apply to all consumer products falling within the scope of the GPSD. More broadly it is the whole legal structure of the EU legislation on product safety that is being reconsidered.

The European Commission is organizing several invitation-only meetings for stakeholders on the subject. Jean-Philippe Montfort (who is one of the few lawyers to be invited to these meetings) and Miles Robinson, partners in our product regulatory and product liability teams, will report on the outcome of the 17 February Commission meeting that focused on traceability, on the architecture of the future legislative framework that will be discussed at the Commission 31 March meeting, and on the key elements of the reform that companies should keep on their radar screen.

Erika Jones from our Washington, DC office will also shed some light on how these future requirements compare with product safety requirements and recent developments in the USA.

For additional information view our Legal Update entitled "The Revision of the EU General Product Safety Directive".


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For additional information, please email Susana Ferrao or telephone +32 2 551 5964.