Online platforms partner with EU to remove unsafe products
(BRUSSELS) - The Commission is stepping up cooperation with Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba to more actively tackle potentially unsafe products from websites which sell to consumers in the EU, it announced Thursday.
The EU executive, which was presenting its latest report on the Rapid Alert System for dangerous products, said that in 2016, the system was more actively used by national authorities, who removed more dangerous products from stores. However, more and more of the dangerous products notified in the Rapid Alert System are now sold on online platforms, and protection must apply both online and offline, it said.
"I am pleased that we could agree with Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba to join efforts to remove products notified through the Rapid Alert System from their websites, and I call on others to follow suit," said Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova.
Ms Jourova said progress had been achieved with China - a persistent offender in the past - and that the numbers of dangerous goods imported from China were on the decrease this year. "This shows that our cooperation with China and our persistence to demand high standards is paying off," she said.
In 2016 there were 2,044 alerts on dangerous products circulated among national authorities through the Rapid Alert System. These alerts prompted 3,824 follow-up actions, such as product recalls. The number of reactions was more than twice as high as the previous years. This shows that national authorities are following up more closely on alerts and taking all necessary measures to make the market a safer place for consumers.
The Commission says it has also worked with national authorities to make the system even more user-friendly and the public website has been modernised to encourage its use by companies and consumers.
Many of the dangerous products notified in the Rapid Alert System are also sold on online platforms or marketplaces, as consumers buy more and more online. In 2016, this was the case for 244 notifications. Several EU Member States have set up specialised teams to monitor webpages and trace dangerous products that are sold online. In addition, Amazon, eBay and Alibaba have agreed to step up their efforts to remove such products once identified by the EU regulatory authorities. For this purpose, the online market places have set up a single point of contact for the authorities.