Are you sure?

EU proposes curbing product-safety tests to aid sales of goods

European Union regulators proposed loosening rules such as product-safety testing requirements to make it easier to sell goods across borders.

Countries wouldn't be able to require testing of products that are already approved for sale elsewhere in the 27-nation EU, under today's proposal by the European Commission. The burden would shift to national authorities to show the goods don't meet domestic standards. „We're not always entirely convinced that these rules serve protection of health or the consumer or the environment,” Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said at a news conference in Brussels. „Occasionally we do get the impression that they are there to make market access more difficult or impossible.”

The measure stands to boost the EU's estimated €2 trillion ($2.6 trillion) goods market. Verheugen said the change would save the construction-equipment industry the cost of having to demonstrate roadworthy lights and turn signals on Caterpillar Inc. earth-moving machines, for example. The initiative needs approval of EU governments and the European Parliament. Verheugen said he expects passage because the proposal avoids the controversy that led lawmakers to water down a bill to ease cross-border services last year. He said the goods measure seeks to streamline existing rules rather than opening any industries to competition for the first time. (Bloomberg)