What Is an Authorized Representative and When Do I Need One?

EU Authorized Representative

An Authorized Representative (AR) is a legal entity established within the European Union (EU), who can act on behalf of a manufacturer in performing certain legislative tasks. Some legislations mandate an Authorized Representative be appointed if the manufacturer is not established within the EU. 

Typically, the AR relationship with the manufacturer is for conformity purposes only, and not intended to be commercial as these areas are generally handled by importers and distributors.

What Does an Authorized Representative Do?

The Authorized Representative is mandated by the manufacturer under a written contract to carry out certain activities on behalf of the manufacturer concerning legislation. The delegation of tasks from the manufacturer to the AR must be explicit and set out in writing, in particular, to define the contents and limits of the representative’s tasks. 

Tasks that may be delegated to the AR according to the Union harmonization legislation are administrative only. Thus, the manufacturer may neither delegate the measures necessary to ensure that the manufacturing process assures compliance of the products nor the drawing up of technical documentation unless otherwise provided for. 

Further, an AR cannot modify the product on his own initiative to bring it into line with the applicable Union harmonization legislation. Appointing an AR does not remove any liability for compliance issues from the manufacturer.

Who Is Subject to This Requirement?

Until July 2021, a manufacturer only needed to appoint an Authorized Representative in certain circumstances when legislation required it. Otherwise, the decision was left to the manufacturer. Regulation 2019/1020 made it required for the appointment of an Economic Operator if a company was producing products subject to any of 18 particular regulations[1].

This legislation firmly establishes a presence within the EU whom authorities can contact if there are any compliance issues and of course, an entity that can be prosecuted or made to pay costs if the non-compliance warrants it. The EU Authorities have found it difficult in the past chasing companies outside their jurisdiction but this loophole is now firmly closed.

How Do You Establish an Authorized Representative and What Should You Look for?

Many companies offer Authorized Representative services in the EU. A manufacturer needs to find a company that they can be comfortable with because an AR is typically a long-term commitment. 

Also, since the AR name is required to be associated with the manufacturer’s products (either on the product or documentation) then a reliable AR is paramount.

The basic tasks an Authorized Representative performs include[2]:

  1. Keep the EU Declaration of Conformity and the technical documentation at the disposal of national surveillance authorities and cooperate with them at their request.
  2. Upon a reasoned request from a competent national authority, provide that authority with all the information and documentation necessary to demonstrate the conformity of a product.
  3. Cooperate with the competent national authorities, at their request, on any action taken to eliminate the risks posed by products covered by their mandate.

A manufacturer should perform the normal due diligence checks when looking for an Authorized Representative. Some of the suggested checks are:

  • How will our information remain confidential and secure?
  • What is the contractual period proposed between us?
  • How will you deal with requests from authorities for information and more?
  • Will you just hold the manufacturer’s documentation or make some audit checks to ensure that when it is asked for by the authorities that it is correct?
  • What work is carried out for a basic contract and if there is additional work, at what cost is it performed?
  • Ask how they perform for other clients and obtain a reference or two.

Also inquire about how they would handle the different approaches from the enforcement authorities such as requests for information, samples, and how they propose dealing with reworks and recalls or customs issues.

Of course, the contract must be in writing and cover as many of the different scenarios as can be predicted. A professional Authorized Representative should have a standard contract so there is no misunderstanding for the responsibilities, duties, and costs involved.

How Does the Relationship Work?

A manufacturer has to consider that the Authorized Representative is the contact between them and the authorities so the AR must be of a professional standard to represent the manufacturer both in timely verbal and written form. 

The AR details will be available to consumers of the products so if the manufacturer does consider a change, there is the issue of products already on the market and also stock in the pipeline with the old AR details. These aspects should be covered clearly in the contract between the two parties.

Learn More About Authorized Representatives

The appointment of an Authorized Representative is an important business decision. Since they are the liaison between the manufacturer and the authorities, a candidate must be carefully chosen who can carry out the required duties in a professional manner.  


[1] REGULATION (EU) 2019/1020 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and compliance of products and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011 Chapter II Article 4.5.[2] C272 EU Blue Guide Section 3.2.