Market surveillance is, next to Accreditation, one of the two fields of activities in the PTB Eastern Partnership Project.
It involves checking whether products meet the relevant safety requirements and the necessary steps to ensure that these requirements are met. Market surveillance authorities are responsible for controlling products and imposing penalties to the producer if their products are endangering the health and safety of the consumer as they do not meet the legal requirements. Market surveillance activities carried out by public authorities ensure the protection of all aspects of public interests, including health and safety of persons or the environment, and ensure fair competition. Such activities can be performed proactively as activities which were planned in advance, or reactively as a response to an outside events such as incident or accident. In connection with these activities, market surveillance authorities cooperate with economic operators, customs, Conformity Assessment Bodies, National Accreditation Bodies, standardization bodies, consumer associations, and other actors.
In Europe, the system of the market surveillance is organised by the individual EU member states and the European Commission.
Since 2010, the regulation (EC) Number 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council is used as a legal basis for monitoring the safety of products in the EU. In order to protect consumers from any imported unsafe products coming from outside the EU, market surveillance authorities cooperate closely with customs. Cooperation among national authorities in the EU is ensured through several practices such as:
- RAPEX - Rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products - "Safety Gate"
- ICSMS - IT platform to facilitate communication between market surveillance bodies in the EU and in EFTA countries
- ADCOs - Informal groups of market surveillance authorities which coordinate enforcement and market surveillance in specific sectors
- Pan-European projects
PTB is strengthening the Market Surveillance Authorities of the six countries of the Eastern Partnership by strengthening the exchange between the institutions as well as by human capacity building and organisational development.