On 15 April 2014 Italy scored a major diplomatic victory in Strasbourg, when the EU Parliament adopted a proposal for a regulation on consumer product safety, which introduces important new measures to regulate the traceability of products.

In a move aimed at tightening up rules on responsibility and ensuring that regulations are consistent across all product sectors for manufacturers, importers and distributors, in order to ensure the safety of all consumer products, measures have been introduced (including the controversial Article 7 on mandatory labeling of place of origin) to improve the traceability of products along the entire supply chain, thus making it possible to effectively trace defective goods.

Under the regulations, manufacturers and importers will have to ensure that products (or their packaging, or their accompanying documents), in addition to the maker’s name and address, will be labeled with their country of origin. This applies both to goods originating in Europe and to goods originating from countries outside the EU. For products manufactured in the EU, companies will be able to choose whether to designate a certain country of the EU or “EU” as the place of origin.

This is a major step forward for Italy, which since 2005 has been at the forefront of efforts to introduce mandatory labeling of the country of origin on imported products. In the past, however, mandatory labeling has been opposed by Germany, the UK and Sweden, all countries with well-established offshore manufacturing bases, who as a result fear negative consequences of specifying the country of origin on the label.

The proposal will now go before the Council, which will have to conduct further negotiations before it can receive final approval.

The new regulation is set to become law in 2015.

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