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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Is "CE" marking required for products marketed in France ?

"CE" marking is only mandatory for products covered by one or more European directives providing for this marking (see "CE" marking).

"CE" marking is not mandatory for other products which are not covered by these directives and it is an offence to use it for such products.

Can I put "Made in France" on my product ?

The origin marking of products is voluntary and optional except for certain agricultural products and foodstuffs. However, it must not mislead consumers and must comply with the criteria for determining the origin as set by the Community Customs Code.
See origin marking.

In which countries does "CE" marking guarantee the free movement of goods ?

"CE" marking guarantees the free movement of goods in the European Economic Area (EEA), comprised of the 27 EU Member States and three Members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

If no specific regulations apply to the product I want to market in France, what are my main obligations?

When no specific regulations apply to the product, it is subject to the general safety obligation set forth in Article L.221-1 of the French Consumer Code which provides that "products and services must, under normal conditions of use or under other circumstances that may reasonably be foreseen by the professional, offer the safety that can legitimately be expected and must not be a danger to public health".

As manufacturer or party responsible for initial French marketing, you must identify the risks relating to use of the product and implement measures to prevent them. Compliance with this obligation may be presumed on the basis of standards or test protocols established either by a laboratory or by you.

Information and warnings about correct use of this product contribute to safety but do not replace the compliance verification obligation under the abovementioned Article L. 221-1.

Do my products have to comply with standards or regulations ?

They must always comply with regulations.

Standards are reference documents containing potential options for complying with regulations. Drawn up with the agreement of all relevant stakeholders, they are issued by a standardisation organisation under State supervision (in France: AFNOR and 25 sectoral standardisation bureaus). Unless specifically provided for by regulations, the application of standards is voluntary unlike legislation drafted by the public authorities for which application is mandatory.

Regulations always take precedence over standards and the latter must comply with regulations. Standards may not define, contradict, or restrict regulations and a standard which is no longer in line with regulations owing to the latter having been reformed is automatically null and void.

Standards may sometimes be referenced in regulations and, in particular, they may be recognised as a privileged means of proof. A product complying with a standard is presumed to also comply with regulations if the legislation establishing the latter provides for such.

More information on standardisation is available on the pages on this topic (in french).

Are construction products subject to "CE" marking ?

The Construction Products Directive provides that products are subject to "CE" marking as their technical specifications are developed.

You can find out if your product is subject to "CE" marking on the website devoted to the Construction Products Directive (dpcnet.org), which was set up by the ministries responsible for infrastructure and industry.

A new Construction Products Regulation scheduled to take effect on 1 July 2013 will soon be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Can I affix other logos on my products besides the "CE" marking ?

Other markings may be affixed alongside the "CE" marking provided they are legible, easily identifiable and may not be confused with the "CE" marking.

"CE" marking is a regulatory obligation applying to products governed by the European harmonisation directives which expressly provide for it. It attests to the manufacturer's commitment to comply with the essential safety requirements laid down by the directives and guarantees free movement of the products within the EU. Further information on "CE" marking

In addition, some European regulations, which apply to the majority of sectors, provide for other mandatory markings such as the "crossed-out wheeled bin" symbol which was made compulsory by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) providing for the management and treatment of this waste.

Other logos, which are not mandatory under regulations, may be affixed. These reflect the desire to inform consumers and include the "Made in/Fabriqué en" marking showing the country of origin. The logos and markings must provide consumers with accurate information and not breach the provisions of the French Consumer Code, particularly its Articles L.121-1 (misleading business practices) and L.213-1 (deception as to material qualities or on the fitness for use).

What if my product is subject to several European directives providing for "CE" marking ?

When a product is subject to several European directives which make "CE" marking mandatory, it must comply with all the safety requirements laid down in the directives in question.

This product will only have one "CE" marking.

As an example, most electrical appliances are subject to at least two applicable European directives:

  • Directive 2006 /95/EC relating to electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits, known as the Low Voltage Directive;
  • Directive 2004/108/EC concerning Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC).

This electrical equipment only has one "CE" marking and must comply with the requirements of both directives.

Similarly, as a minimum requirement, radio-controlled toys must comply with :

  • Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys;
  • Radio equipment and telecommunications terminals equipment (R&TTE) Directive 1995 /5/EC.

 

What is the difference between an accredited laboratory and a notified laboratory ?

An accredited body (or laboratory) has received certification of its expertise in a given assessment activity. In France, the COFRAC issues certificates. Accreditation provides guarantees concerning the body as its expertise and working practices are subject to regular scrutiny by an independent third party, the COFRAC. Accreditation is usually voluntary but, in some cases, it may be a regulatory requirement.

A notified body (or laboratory) is designated, at its request, by the public authorities of a Member State before the European Commission to carry out conformity assessment of products. Such notification enables the relevant body to conduct conformity assessment with European regulations, usually with the so-called "New Approach" directives. Products assessed by a notified body may be placed on the market throughout the EU.

The French public authorities usually insist on the bodies which they notify to the European Commission being accredited for the relevant activity. This is to verify that they actually meet the conditions for being notified.

The Commission's "NANDO" website provides a list of bodies notified by Member States.

To find out more about accreditation, you can refer to the guide for the correct use of accreditation in regulations (guide sur le bon usage de l'accréditation dans la réglementation) written by the Directorate General for Competiveness, Industry and Services (DGCIS).

For more information: "New Approach" directives providing for "CE" marking.

 

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