LATVIA – MARKETS
At a meeting on 8 November 2022, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the National Market Surveillance Strategy 2022-2026 (hereinafter referred to as the Strategy), which is part of the Common Market Surveillance System of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as the EU), and which was developed in accordance with the EU uniform form by the Ministry of Economics in cooperation with 15 Latvian market surveillance institutions.
The strategy included information on the Latvian market surveillance system, participating institutions, practices and application of EU legislation concerning market surveillance in Latvia, including at the EU borders, as well as cooperation with EU Member States.
The strategy contained conclusions on the problems in the Latvian monitoring system, assessed existing shortcomings and needed improvements, and identified options for implementation, as well as identified priority areas for market monitoring.
The strategy covers a range of EU product legislation, all stages of the product supply chain, including imports and digital supply chains. The rapid development of e-commerce has also been taken into account, as well as the popularity of smart products, which require market controllers to have additional skills in using digital tools such as inspections, market monitoring and developing data-driven surveillance.
The strategy underlines that, taking into account the objectives set in the EU Green Deal and rising energy prices, the introduction of energy efficiency and eco-design requirements and clarification of requirements to both traders and consumers should be strengthened for the advancement of sustainable consumer habits.
The harmonised indicators developed by the EU Product Conformity Network will be used to assess the results of the implementation of the strategy and market monitoring, such as resources dedicated to market monitoring, number of tests and laboratory tests, number of non-conformities, etc. The results of the relevant indicators are planned to be collected once a year and discussed at the Market Monitoring Board. Implementation of the strategy will be evaluated and reviewed at least once every 2 years.
The main purpose of market surveillance is to protect consumers from risks and threats to their life, health and economic interests with an effectively functioning market surveillance system and the successful fulfilment of obligations by the parties involved (economic operators, consumers and public authorities).
Effective market surveillance plays an essential role in both protecting consumer rights and ensuring fair and equitable competition, as it involves monitoring and checking the conformity of goods and services placed on the market and, where necessary, ensuring that appropriate action is taken.
The market surveillance authorities shall, where necessary, take measures to improve and bring non-compliant goods into conformity, withdraw non-compliant goods from the market and/or prohibit or destroy, as appropriate. The market surveillance authorities may impose sanctions on the infringer that are commensurate with the seriousness of the infringement.