Last checked: 16/04/2020

Identifying product requirements

Coronavirus, medical supplies and protective equipment

EU-wide standards and technical specifications exist for a number of product categories. You must ensure your products comply with any relevant EU rules before they can be traded freely in the EU.

Where no EU-wide rules exist, different specifications might apply in different EU countries. In such cases, you must only comply with the rules valid in your EU country.

What are product requirements?

EU law sets essential requirements to ensure products traded in the EU meet high health, safety, and environmental standards.

Requirements can cover:

In most cases, the law defines the results to be achieved or the hazards to be dealt with, but it does not specify technical solutions.

Sometimes harmonised standards can help you demonstrate conformity with the law.

Where to find EU product requirements

Currently, most of the product rules are harmonised in the EU. This means that the same rules apply in all EU countries. Rules are applied to product groups, such as toys, or product characteristics, such as electromagnetic compatibility.

You can check the requirements for your product in the Trade Helpdesk database.

The Trade Helpdesk database offers information on the:

The Trade Helpdesk database is structured around custom codes: to view requirements for your product you will first have to identify its customs code. If you do not know the customs code, you can search for it with your product's name with the built-in search engine.

Where to find national product requirements

There are also product rules that are not harmonised in the EU, this means specifications might differ in each EU country. In such cases, you must only comply with the rules applicable in the EU country where you intend to place your product on the market.

If your products meet these requirements in your EU country, other EU countries cannot:

unless they can prove that your products do not fulfil your country's technical and quality requirements and do not offer a similar level of safety. This is known as the principle of mutual recognition.

If you are facing a problem related to the product rules in another EU country being incompatible with the mutual recognition principle, you may request assistance from SOLVIT.

National rules

The governments of EU countries are obliged to publish their national rules. You can read more about national rules and the ‘mutual recognition' principle in the TRIS database for non-harmonised product rules.

In particular, the requirements under national rules might differ for the:

To find out which technical rules apply to specific products in each EU country or the details of competent authorities within that EU country you can contact the Product Contact Points.

Restrictions based on national rules

If your products pose a risk to the public interest, based on the laws in place in other EU countries that affect:

you may not be allowed to export them freely.

Your products could be banned if the EU country you want to export to can prove that its own technical requirements are essential or mandatory, and your products are not equivalent in terms of the level of safety sought.

To find out which national rules apply to specific products in each EU country or the details of competent authorities within that country you can contact the Product Contact Points.

Related topics

Need support from assistance services?

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

Share this page: