Product safety law and compliance in Germany

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By Ludger Giesberts, John Shi and Andreas Tiedge

When placing consumer products on the German market, various product safety standards have to be met. The applicable rules and regulations can be quite difficult to determine. Failure to comply will however result in governmental as well as private-party actions against the importer and the manufacturer. Abiding by the pertinent rules and regulations is therefore crucial.

Although all of the European Union (EU) member states employ their own product safety government agencies and authorities, most of the material standards for products are set by the EU itself. Traditionally, this is accomplished via directives. Directives are legal acts set at EU level that have to be implemented into member state law before they become effective. The standards will nevertheless be harmonised throughout the European internal market.

In recent years, the EU has begun enacting regulations in the consumer products sector as well. Regulations apply immediately, they do not have to be transposed. This way, even closer harmonisation is ensured. Wherever EU law applies, it automatically supersedes national rules and regulations…

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