12 March 2019
EU Regulation Published Harmonising Format for Registering and Reporting of Electrical and Electronic Equipment
On 12 March 2019, Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/290, which establishes the format for registration and reporting of producers of electrical and electronic equipment in the EU Member States, will enter into force. The Regulation will begin to apply after completion of a transition period, thus, from 1 January 2020. The new Regulation has been adopted pursuant to the requirement in Directive 2012/19/EU (the “WEEE Directive”), and in particular due to the WEEE Directive’s Article 16(3). This Article requires that, in order to ensure uniform conditions, the European Commission must adopt implementing acts establishing the format for registration and reporting and the frequency of reporting to each Member State’s register of producers.
The new Regulation should, it is expected, make it administratively easier for producers selling their electrical and electronic equipment (“EEE”) in several Member States, when complying with their producer registration obligations. The harmonised data structure and format for the registration and reporting of producers of EEE, for all Member States, will reduce their administrative burden. Indeed, so as to harmonise the practices applied by the Member States for registration and reporting, the format provided in the new Regulation should be used by all producers, including producers supplying EEE by means of distance communication, or, where appointed, by producer’s authorised representatives.
Hong Kong companies selling electrical appliances and electronic devices to EU consumers should know that a “producer” is defined in the WEEE Directive as, among others a manufacturer within a Member State, or a person within a Member State who places EEE on the market from third countries or another Member State. Therefore, in the case of goods exported from Hong Kong, the importer in each EU Member State would be deemed a producer, subject to the producer registration obligations.
As for authorised representatives, if any company sells EEE into a Member State using distance-selling techniques, such as online retail, direct to end-users, that company is deemed a producer, and is obliged to register and comply with the WEEE Directive. If the company does not have a physical presence in the Member State, then it cannot itself register, but must appoint, in writing, an authorised representative in that Member State.
The authorised representative can be any private individual or entity willing to take on the tasks of the distance-seller, and shoulder the legal risks for any compliance-related issues. In the case of any other type of producer (e.g., importer) that does not have a physical presence in another Member State, such producer is allowed to appoint an authorised representative in that Member State, although such appointment is not obligatory.
The format for registration and reporting sets out the key information elements to be requested for the registration and reporting by producers or, where appointed, by authorised representatives.
The key information required can be seen in Annex X of the WEEE Directive. For registration, this comprises the details of the producer; the national identification code of the producer including its European tax number or national tax number; the category of EEE being placed on the market (which can be chosen from Annex I or Annex III of the WEEE Directive); the type of EEE (household or other than household equipment); the brand name of the EEE; information on how the producer meets its responsibilities, i.e., through an individual or a collective scheme, including information on financial guarantees; the selling technique used (e.g. distance selling); and a declaration stating that the information provided is true.
The information to be submitted for reporting comprises the national identification code of the producer; the reporting period; the category of EEE (from Annex I or III, as appropriate); the quantity of EEE placed on the national market, by weight; and the quantity, by weight, of waste of EEE separately collected, recycled (including prepared for re-use), recovered and disposed of within the Member State or shipped within or outside the Union. For the latter-two reporting requirements, the information must be given by category.
Articles 1 of new Regulation 2019/290 makes it mandatory for each Member State of the European Union to ensure that its producer register (a) uses the format set out in Annex I, Part A, for the registration of producers; and (b) uses the format set out in Annex I, Part B, for the registration of authorised representatives. Similarly, Article 2 of Regulation 2019/290 imposes the obligation on Member States to ensure that their producer registers use the format set out in Annex II for reporting by producers or their authorised representatives, to the register, on the data related to EEE placed on their markets.
Regulation 2019/290 will begin to apply from 1 January 2020. As it is an EU Regulation, it will be binding in its entirety, and directly applicable, in all Member States.