News on Product Certification Legislation in the Eurasian Customs Union
By Bettina Wisthaler
The technical regulations are definitions of standards which establish the characteristics of products and their production processes in terms of quality, security, technical requirements, etc. The new legislation has been established to replace the old GOST standard which no longer reflects the requirements of modern production and industry. The so called GOST which stands for “Gosudarstvenniy standard” or “state standard” is a concept that first appeared in 1928 and had become over the years a formality with certificates being issued often without any further request of documents or samples. Product certification had become to a certain extent a business in which the main concepts of security and quality had disappeared.
In 2003, the Federal law № 184-FЗ “On technical regulation” came into force and GOST and sanitary standards were partially replaced by technical regulations. The Technical Regulations imply obligatory requirements in the field of product security in terms of health, security of property, protection of the environment, energetic efficiency, etc.
With the creating of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, a unified product certification system became indispensable and in 2010, the three countries decided to introduce the Technical Regulations of the Customs Union. The competences regarding the establishment of the Technical Regulations, as well as the coordinating and controlling function related to it, were assigned to the Commission of the Customs Union. Within the Technical Regulations of the Customs Union, abbreviated as “TR TS” or “TR CU”, the Commission established moreover, a unified list of products for which conformity according to the Technical regulations is obligatory.
Starting from January 1, 2012 with the new Technical Regulations of the Customs Union coming into force step by step, the respective national standards will no longer be valid. For example, on February 15, 2013, when the Technical Regulation on the security of elevators came into force, the national norms in this respect expired.
The scheme, elaborated by the Customs Union, introduced 49 regulations of which currently 21 have already come into force, 13 have been approved and another 15 still need to be approved. For goods and machines which have been proved to be compliant with the Technical Regulations, a conformity declaration or certificate is issued. In both cases, the applicant body needs to provide documents assessing the compliance to the security standards such as technical data sheets, construction plans and instructions for use. For the export of used machinery, an assessment in terms of conformity to TR standards is not required although evidence on the remaining useful value needs to be given.
The issued conformity documents are valid in the whole territory of the Customs Union, i.e. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. During the transitional period until 2015, old GOST certificates which are still valid can be used until their expiration date.
One of the new aspects, and probably also the most discussed one is related to the application for conformity certificates or declarations. The applicant body for a TR TS document needs to be a legal entity of one of the countries of the Customs Union which is due to the fact that the responsibility for the certification process, but also for the security of the product itself, is assumed by the applicant body. The role of the applicant may be performed by the local manufacturer in case of goods manufactured within the Customs Union or by the importer of goods in case the manufacturer is a foreign company. In the declaration of conformity, for example, the relationship between exporter and importer is put in evidence by indicating the number and date of the delivery contract. The applicant in the certification process can also be another authorized legal entity. Such authorization cannot be given through a simple power of attorney but with a contract on the assumption of responsibility for the quality of the goods.
TR documents may be issued for a certain delivery with indication of the invoice and attachment to the delivery contract or for serial production. Nevertheless, a conformity certificate for serial production also requires additional quality control in the form of an inspection of the production site by representatives of the certification authorities. Both types of conformity documents may be issued for a period from 1 up to 5 years whereas for conformity declarations, a validity of 5 years will rarely be adopted and only with additional obligations.
Moreover, conformity declarations are distinguished by seven schemes, starting from 1D for the lowest level of danger and products whose safety factors are resistant to changes in production and use, arriving up to 7D for complex products with high safety risk indicators with requirements increasing respectively.
Such classification norms, as the new legislation in a whole, are aiming to increase the transparency of the certification process and to simplify the import of goods into countries of the Customs Union as well as the transfer of goods within the Union itself.
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