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Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Pat Breen T.D. welcomes agreement on proposal for Mutual Recognition of Goods within EU Single Market

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Proposal will reduce administrative burden on Irish companies seeking to expand into EU markets
Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD was in Brussels today to attend a meeting of EU Single Market and Industry Ministers to discuss a range of issues related to EU competitiveness, including the Mutual Recognition of Goods within the Single Market, and the Commission’s proposal for the Regulation of Platforms to Business relationships.

In a boost for Irish SMEs, Minister Breen supported the proposal for an EU Regulation on the Mutual Recognition of Goods, which will make it easier for Irish SMEs to sell products such as shoes, jewellery and furniture that are not subject to common EU rules, in other EU countries. This will reduce the administrative burden on indigenous companies seeking to expand into EU markets.

Welcoming agreement at the Council for a General Approach on the Regulation, Minister Breen said: “I believe that the implementation of this Regulation, after it is agreed with the European Parliament, will prove to be of benefit to Irish small businesses ensuring that goods moving across the EU are not subject to unnecessary barriers to trade. The measures contained in the proposed Regulation represent a positive step towards achieving this objective and make it easier for SMEs to do business.”

At the Council, Ministers also discussed the Commissions’ proposed Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation service i.e. Platforms to Business. The Proposal aims to establish a fair, trusted and innovation-driven ecosystem in the online platform economy in the EU and contribute to a strengthened, better-functioning Digital Single Market in terms of innovation, competitiveness, growth and jobs.

The scope of the Regulation covers online platform intermediaries and general online search engines that provide their services to businesses established in the EU and that offer goods or services to consumers located in the EU.

On the proposed Regulation, Minister Breen said: “Ireland supports the need for further transparency measures in the platform economy on a proportionate basis, however these must not come at the expense of stifled innovation or the infringement of existing intellectual property rights. I believe that the Regulation must create an innovation-friendly legal environment for both online platforms and business users, particularly SMEs, allowing them to operate at a larger scale without creating further undue administrative burden”.

While in Brussels, the Minister availed of the opportunity to meet bilaterally with his Czech, German and UK ministerial counterparts to share Ireland’s views on Single Market and Digital Single Market matters.

Note to editors

The principle of mutual recognition of goods states that where a good that is not subject to common EU rules is sold lawfully in any one EU Member State, it can be placed on the market of any other Member State even if that Member State has stricter technical rules in place for those goods. Member States can still, however, deny market access to that good on defined public policy grounds, such as health and safety, the environment and public morality. Goods that are not subject to harmonised EU legislation and that fall within the scope of the Regulation include furniture, shoes, tableware, bicycles and jewellery. The principle of mutual recognition of goods is currently provided for by Regulation 764/2008.

The proposed Regulation makes the following key changes to the existing framework provided for by Regulation 764/2008:

New legal definitions are provided to clarify the scope of mutual recognition and clearly define when it is applicable. This is to increase legal certainty for businesses and national authorities as to when the mutual recognition principle can be used;
A new self-declaration is introduced to allow economic operators to show that a product has been already lawfully marketed in the EU;
Access to a free problem-solving procedure (SOLVIT) is provided for to deal with decisions denying or restricting market access; SOLVIT may then refer cases to the European Commission for its opinion;
Provision of a new IT tool to enhance communication, cooperation and trust among national authorities and increased administrative cooperation between Member States.

The Proposed Regulation on Online Intermediaries contributes to the goals of the Digital Single Market Strategy (DSM) by creating a clear, transparent and stable legal environment for online Business-to-Consumer (B2C) service providers and their business users, to tackle market fragmentation and to allow all players to tap into the new market dynamics under fair and balanced conditions and with an appropriate degree of transparency.

Since online intermediation services and online search engines typically have a global dimension, this Regulation will apply to providers of those services regardless of whether they are established in a Member State or outside the Union, provided that two cumulative conditions are met.

Firstly, the business users or corporate website users should be established in the Union.
Secondly, the business users or corporate website users should, through the provision of those services, offer their goods or services to consumers located in the Union at least for part of the transaction. Such consumers should be located in the Union, but do not need to have their place of residence in the Union nor have the nationality of any Member State.
Accordingly, this Regulation should not apply where the business users or corporate websites users are not established in the Union or where they are established in the Union but where they use online intermediation services or online search engines to offer goods or services exclusively to consumers located outside the Union or to persons who are not consumers.

ENDS