The French notified regulation on VOC labelling of furniture products creates an unproportionate barrier to trade, imposing enormous costs for SMEs without even potentially reaching its ultimate goal, the protection of consumers.
On 19 January 2017, French authorities have notified the EU an incomplete regulation with regard to mandatory labelling of formaldehyde emission levels from wood-based furniture. The notified regulation has raised many concerns within European furniture producers. EFIC, the European Furniture Industries Confederation, has sent a detailed analysis to the European Commission showing problems and consequences to the sector should the regulation be implemented.
Instead of following a common approach already embraced by eight countries in Europe, the French draft decree is establishing ad hoc demands and testing requirements for the French market only. EFIC National members agreed on the strong impact such regulation might have to exporting to France. Main issues of concern include:
- Very high costs for testing products to be put in the French market. Such requirements would particularly affect Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are the main operators in the furniture sector.
- Distortions on functioning of the EU internal market. Different regulations imposed at National level would negatively impact the European market. The regulation would also create competition distortions because it only includes products made with wood-based panels.
- Lack of test chamber availability. Specific measurements requested by the regulation could only be performed in just a few of large chambers available in Europe.
- Disproportionate and inconsistent emission classes and limits for formaldehyde emission.
- No maximum emission level of formaldehyde is imposed.
EFIC welcomes an approach aimed at regulating emissions of formaldehyde at a level that provides the needed safety for consumers and a degree of certainty for the industry. It is crucial to adopt a general requirement for wood-based panel with a maximum level of emissions allowed to be equally applied throughout Europe.
EFIC calls for a European-wide regulation on this issue. National initiatives resulting in the multiplication of different schemes (potentially 27 in the EU internal market) would significantly distort intra-EU trade and the functioning of the European internal market.
The French notified regulation is now on standstill period at the EU level, which has been postponed to 20th July 2017 after the detailed opinions issued by the UK and Italy. According to the EU notification procedure, France must take into account the issues raised and must reply explaining the actions it intends to take in order to comply with them.EFIC is very committed to encourage a better functioning of the EU and its internal market, and the French notified regulation on VOC labelling of furniture is not going in this direction.
EFIC full analysis is available here: http://bit.ly/2omzi5TFor more information, please contact:
EFIC Secretary General, Roberta Dessì
Phone: +32 (0)477 28 71 34