First national market surveillance strategy released
Finland’s first national market surveillance strategy has been drawn up for 2022–2025. The strategy pays special attention to the changing product markets, risk-based surveillance, harmonisation of market surveillance and cooperation among the market surveillance authorities. Finland’s 12 market surveillance authorities must take the strategy into account in their operations.
The operating environment of product markets and market surveillance has recently undergone major changes. Trading practices and consumption habits have changed considerably, and product markets have moved increasingly online. Increasing digitalisation and the results of product development and new product-related technologies are reshaping product markets.
The purpose of market surveillance is to ensure that products placed on the market comply with the requirements set out in the applicable product legislation in order to protect general interests such as the safety and health of consumers, employees and other end users, as well as the environment. Market surveillance also creates conditions for fair competition, promoting an equal operating environment for economic operators.
The goal of the national market surveillance strategy is to ensure a consistent, comprehensive and harmonised approach to the market surveillance of products. The strategy defines an operating framework to help the market surveillance authorities meet the challenges that the rapidly changing operating environment poses to product markets and economic operators, as well as to ensure the compliance of products.
“The market surveillance authorities must take the national strategy into account in their market surveillance plans. The strategy will help harmonise market surveillance practices in various product sectors and promote cooperation among market surveillance authorities in both Finland and the EU. Harmonised procedures will ensure fair competitive conditions for companies and make the authorities’ operations more efficient. The strategy highlights key changes in the product markets, most importantly the rapid growth in online shopping and its impacts on product safety,” says Tuiri Kerttula, Director of Products Department from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).
Compliant products and fair competition
The vision of Finland’s market surveillance is to have a market in which Finns can trust that the products on sale comply with the statutory requirements, and where companies have fair conditions for competi-tion. To achieve this vision, the strategy sets out four strategic choices for Finnish market surveillance:
- We target surveillance at products based on risks and for all trading channels.
- We cooperate actively, both nationally and at the EU level.
- We use communications as an effective tool.
- We develop and renew our surveillance processes.
The strategic choices include more detailed targets and provide general guidelines for the implementation of market surveillance in Finland until 2025.
“The guidelines and choices described in the strategy offer good support to our Institute’s operations aligned with the sustainable development goals, as well as to our market surveillance of fluorinated greenhouse gases, ozone-depleting substances, the quality of transport fuels, and the use of the EU Ecolabel,” says Reetta Saarinen, Senior Adviser at the Finnish Environment Institute.
Cooperation ensures effective surveillance
The strategy also emphasises cooperation between the market surveillance authorities – both in Finland and in the EU. It is important to ensure good cooperation between the authorities and the development of harmonised procedures so that surveillance can be performed as consistently as possible, and economic operators are treated equally.
“Cooperation between the market surveillance authorities and the sharing of best practices are needed to make surveillance as effective and efficient as possible. This is also the best way to support the goals of market surveillance, essentially the interests of citizens and market opera-tors,” says Milla Kuokkanen, Senior Specialist at the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
Each Member State is responsible for drawing up a national market surveillance strategy
Finland’s national market surveillance strategy is based on Article 13 of the EU’s Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020. Under the Regulation, each Member State must draw up an overarching national market surveillance strategy at least every four years. The strategy’s purpose is to promote a consistent, comprehensive and integrated approach to market surveillance in the Member State. The strategy encompasses all the product sectors that come under the scope of the Market Surveillance Regulation. Finland’s market surveillance strategy also applies to certain other product sectors that are outside the scope of the Market Surveillance Regulation. However, the strategy does not apply to the agri-food chain or medicinal products.
Finland’s single liaison office for market surveillance (Fipoint) has drawn up the national market surveillance strategy jointly with the market surveillance cooperation group. The single liaison office operates at the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes). The market surveillance cooperation group includes representatives of the market surveillance authorities referred to in the Market Surveillance Regulation, Finnish Customs and a few other authorities.
Reija Sironen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 29 5052 016, [email protected]