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Economic Operator Responsibilities

Updated: Jun 15, 2023


This guide provides information on the following topics:

Economic operators’

· Manufacturers,

· Importers,

· Distributors,

· Authorised Representatives

· End-user’s

This guidance is intended to apply to goods which require marking. However,

you should also check the individual regulations applicable to your goods, as the

definitions and requirements for ‘economic operators’ (i.e. manufacturers, importers,

distributors, and authorised representatives) may differ.

You should note that this guidance represents the CE Marking Authority's interpretation of the legislative framework and does not have legal force.


The manufacturer is anyone (individual or company) who manufactures a good or has a good designed or manufactured and markets that good under its name or trademark. For instance, an importer who markets a good under their name and trademark is usually considered to be the ‘manufacturer’ and

assumes the responsibilities of a manufacturer.

As a manufacturer, when placing a good on the market, you are responsible for (among others):

1. Ensuring your good complies with the relevant rules.

2. Ensuring the relevant conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and affixing the relevant conformity marking.

3. Drawing up the technical documentation and a declaration of conformity/performance (depending on the legislation).

4. Indicating your details (name, registered trade name or registered trademark and postal address) on the good. Note, that some legislation permits these details to be provided on the packaging or accompanying documentation.

5. You should check the relevant legislation to understand your full responsibilities.


An importer is anybody (individual or company) established in the market who commercially supplies a good from outside the market for distribution, consumption or use on the market.

1. As an importer, when placing a good on the market, you are responsible for (among others):

2. Ensuring the manufacturer has carried out the correct conformity assessment procedures, subject to the requirements of the relevant legislation.

3. Ensuring the manufacturer has drawn up the correct technical documentation, affixed the relevant conformity marking, and has fulfilled their traceability obligations (i.e. contact details are included).

4. Indicating your details (name, registered trade name or registered trademark, and postal address – usually a number, street, and postcode) on the goods. The legislation sometimes permits placing these details on packaging, or placing them on accompanying documentation, as an alternative to affixing them to goods themselves.

5. Retaining a copy of the declaration of conformity/performance for 10 years after the good has been placed on the market.

6. You should check the relevant legislation to understand your full responsibilities.


A distributor is a person in the supply chain, other than the manufacturer or importer, who makes goods available on the market.

As a distributor you are responsible for:

Verifying goods bear the required conformity/performance marking and are accompanied by relevant documentation (e.g. a declaration of conformity/performance, safety information, installation instructions).

Taking due care to ensure that goods meet the requirements of the legislation. You should not make a good available on the market if you have reason to believe it is not in compliance with the legislation.

Verifying that the manufacturer and importer have indicated their name, address, and (if relevant) registered trademark on the good.

You should check the relevant legislation to understand your full responsibilities.

Authorised representatives

A manufacturer may appoint in writing a authorised representative to carry out certain tasks under the legislation. Under some legislation an authorised representative is mandatory, but in most cases it is voluntary.

Depending on the legislation, the authorised representative may draw up a declaration of conformity, affix the marking and keep technical documentation, and is required to cooperate with market surveillance authorities.

Under the legislation, an authorised representative's role is usually different from that of an importer. However, if an authorised representative is also acting as an importer or distributor, they will need to fulfil the obligations of those economic operators under the legislation as well.

You should check the legislation to understand your full responsibilities. Responsible persons

Some legislation, such as the Noise Emission and the Machinery, uses the term ‘responsible person’ and provides that they must not place equipment/machinery on the market or put it into service unless various requirements have been met, including that it bears the correct marking.

End users

Consumers and most professional end users are not subject to obligations under the legislation. However, some professional end-users who ‘put goods into service’ may be subject to compliance obligations if set out in the product legislation

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