Mexico and Germany exchange views on strengthening market surveillance
As part of the delegation visit to Mexico, the “Forum on Market Surveillance Mexico-Germany” took place between 27 and 31 May. It was divided into three sessions. Around 480 stakeholders from the Mexican QI system participated. Representatives from BMWK and the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) presented the German perspective. From the Mexican side, the General Bureau of Technical Regulations and Standards (Dirección General de Normas - DGN) of the Mexican Ministry of Economy, the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Consumidor - PROFECO) and the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (Comisión Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de Energía - CONUEE) participated in the forum.
Coordination among market surveillance authorities ensures robust surveillance mechanisms
The opening session of the forum emphasised how important the cooperation between market surveillance authorities is. This is true at the national level as well as regionally or internationally. Dieter Penning (BNetzA) presented how market surveillance works in Germany. It is regulated by the German Market Surveillance Act. He also shared insights about its cooperation mechanisms, strategies, agencies and authorities. For instance, the Central Authority of the Federal States for Safety Engineering (ZLS) strengthens the coordination between market surveillance authorities of the German federal states. It is linked to other federal authorities, such as BNetzA, via the German Market Surveillance Forum (DMÜF). The DMÜF also acts as a liaison between Germany and the European Union (EU). EU member states see their market surveillance strategies strengthened thanks to the collaboration at the regional level.
On the Mexican side, Leonardo Rosano (DGN) explained that the National Commission for Quality Infrastructure (Comisión Nacional de Infraestructura de la Calidad - CNIC) is responsible for directing and coordinating the national QI system, including market surveillance activities. CNIC analyses, reviews and approves the National Quality Infrastructure Programme and its supplement every year.
Both sides concluded that coordination among market surveillance authorities and the involvement of stakeholders of the national QI systems is fundamental to ensure an efficient and effective market surveillance.
Product-risk classification increases efficient market surveillance
The second session focused on product-risk classification and its role in increasing the efficiency of market surveillance. Jörg Kannegiesser and Ludger Meinders (both BNetzA) explained the methodology behind product-risk classification in the EU. It is impossible to monitor every product available on the market. Thus, the inherent risks of the different products need to be analysed. This is key to a more efficient use of resources. The experts also underlined the importance of data collection by inspection bodies. Data is needed to monitor the safety and quality of products. This is how a cohesive and sustainable market surveillance strategy can be achieved.
Market surveillance must adapt to confront the global challenges posed by e-commerce
The third session of the forum addressed e-commerce and the new challenges it poses to market surveillance authorities at the global level. PROFECO addressed the safeguarding of privacy in the digital sphere. They also stressed the importance of promoting responsible commercial communication, the benefits of co-regulation, and inter-institutional collaboration. Joachim Geiß (BMWK) pointed out that one of the main issues brought forth by e-commerce is the lack of clarity in attributing responsibility to a person or entity when a non-compliant product is sold. The Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 requires at least one economic operator in the supply chain to be established in the EU for products to be offered for sale to EU consumers. That way, an economic operator, such as a fulfilment service provider, can be contacted. This is especially important when market surveillance authorities seek to investigate cases of dangerous products sold online.
At the end, all speakers enumerated various novel digital tools that are under development to better assess the efficiency of market surveillance authorities. The experts deemed the sharing of challenges and best practices between countries as a key exercise in further bolstering collaboration within the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (GPQI). This is particularly important in today’s interconnected world.
Introducing new topics and strengthening cooperation
During BMWK’s delegation visit, the experts held political meetings and exchanges on further topics of mutual interest addressed in the German-Mexican Dialogue on Quality Infrastructure. For instance, regarding circular economy as a system applicable across whole supply chains in all sectors, BMWK and Mexican authorities talked about the waste of electric and electrical equipment, batteries for electric vehicles and digital tools as a means to improve product and component traceability.
Concerning cybersecurity, BMWK, the Mexican Federal Institute of Communications (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones - IFT) and the Mexican Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (Secretaría de Infraestructura, Comunicaciones y Transportes - SICT) exchanged information on national regulations on this matter, such as the European regulation (EU) 2022/30 and the Mexican regulation of cybersecurity surrounding radio communication equipment and products.
BMWK also attended a meeting at the Mexican Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Secretaría de Trabajo y Previsión Social - STPS) to reflect on the ongoing cooperation in machinery safety.
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