Guide

International trade regulations in the Household goods, furniture and furnishings sector

Safety regulations for electrical equipment, furniture and furnishings imports

The General Product Safety Directive places a general safety requirement on any product put on the European Union (EU) market that is intended for or likely to be used by consumers, including all products that provide a service. Liability for injuries or damages caused by defective products also comes under European law, with injured parties having up to three years within which to seek compensation.

If you become aware that a product you have placed on the market or distributed is unsafe, you must notify the local authorities, who will determine whether notification to RAPEX - the EU rapid alert system for non-food consumer products - is necessary.

If you import electrical equipment or goods that could pose a fire hazard, you must comply with certain regulations.

Electrical equipment

All businesses need to comply with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2006, which:

  • Place responsibility for financing the costs of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE on the products' producers and distributors.
  • Require producers to mark products accordingly and provide information about recovery and disposal of WEEE. Read more about waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Other regulations apply to the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. You must ensure your imports comply with these regulations. See restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS).

Fire safety

If you trade in goods that may pose a fire hazard, you need to be aware of the specific legislation that relates to these goods. A wide range of consumer goods bears the Kite and CE marks as proof of compliance with safety regulations. Read an overview of the Kite mark.

Eco-design

Inefficient light bulbs in non-directional lamps are being phased out and new mandatory functionality requirements for certain other lamps will apply. Clear incandescent and conventional halogen light bulbs of certain voltages can now no longer be placed on the European market. For further information, you can download Commission Regulation (EC) No.244/2009 (PDF, 94K).

Eco-design requirements apply to manufacturers and importers of electric and electronic household appliances that have a stand-by and/or off mode. Read more about energy labelling and ecodesign of energy-related products.

Other regulations

Your imported consignments may need a phytosanitary certificate if they contain, for example, wood packaging. This certificate proves that the wood has been properly treated to prevent pest infestation and disease.

Some products - particularly textiles - also have quotas applied to them. Read about quotas and imported goods.

There are also rules of origin for textile products that you may import from Laos, Cambodia and Nepal.