Product compliance when placing certain goods on the Northern Ireland market

Responsible economic operators and product compliance


To place certain goods on the Northern Ireland market, you must follow EU product compliance rules that includes Article 4 of the EU Regulation on Market Surveillance and Product Compliance.

These rules require that there is an authorised representative to carry out compliance tasks. 

Find out what products need an economic operator for product compliance.

Who can be a responsible economic operator?

The responsible economic operator can be the manufacturer, an importer, an authorised representative, or a fulfilment service provider who is established in Northern Ireland or the EU.

‘Established’ means having a physical presence in Northern Ireland or the EU – not just a postal address. For a business, this can be your registered office, headquarters or your permanent place of business in that country. For an individual, this can be where you live.

The responsible economic operator can be any one of:

  • The manufacturer: A natural or legal person who manufactures a product or has a product designed or manufactured, and markets that product under its name or trademark.
  • An importer, when the manufacturer is not established in NI (or the EU): A natural or legal person established in the NI (or EU) who first places a product from a country outside the EU on the NI (or EU) market.
  • An authorised representative: A natural or legal person established in Northern Ireland (or EU) who is appointed by the manufacturer to act on their behalf to fulfil certain legal duties. A written mandate must be in place, and duties are limited to certain administrative tasks.
  • A fulfilment service provider: A natural or legal person offering at least two of the following services: warehousing, packaging, addressing and dispatching, without owning the products. This does not include postal, parcel or freight services.

What does the responsible economic operator need to do?

The responsible economic operator has responsibility for these compliance tasks:

  1. Keep documentation: Verify that the EU declaration of conformity or declaration of performance and technical documentation have been drawn up and keep these documents at the disposal of Market Surveillance Authorities for the period required by that legislation (usually 10 years).
  2. Provide documentation: Provide the Market Surveillance Authority with all information and documentation to show the conformity of the product.
  3. Notify risk: If there is reason to believe a product presents a risk, inform the Market Surveillance Authority.
  4. Cooperate and take necessary action: Cooperate with Market Surveillance Authorities, including taking action to fix non-compliance. If it is not possible, and the economic operator believes the product presents a risk, take action to mitigate the risks.

In Northern Ireland, the Market Surveillance Authority is the Environmental Health department of your local council. Find your local council in Northern Ireland.