New rules to protect Dutch consumers against unsafe, cheap products from China, U.S.

AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands is implementing new rules to better protect consumers against cheap and unsafe products from countries like China and the United States. For each product, either the manufacturer or a person responsible for product safety must be established in the EU. Otherwise, the product may not be sold in the Netherlands, in physical stores, or online, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced. If a product is found unsafe, online platforms must remove all identical products. 


The stricter rules are part of a European Union directive, so they will also apply in other EU countries. According to the Ministry, they’re needed because other countries don’t adhere to the same consumer protection and product safety rules as the EU. Online platforms are increasingly selling products from China and America directly to the consumer, sometimes resulting in people getting products that are flammable, harmful to health, or dangerous for children. 


“You cannot go far enough to get unsafe products off the market and to protect consumers,” said Minister Micky Adriaansens of Economic Affairs and Climate. “We also tackle unfair competition in this way. That is good for Dutch entrepreneurs who do comply with safety rules for products.” 


According to him, the new rules will keep defective products from non-EU countries off online platforms. It will also make it easier for consumers to enforce their rights and return products. When a consumer returns a defective product, the seller must offer at least two of the following options: a safe replacement product of the same original value, repair the product in a way that it is safe, or return the full purchase price to the consumer. 


After a transition period, the new rules will apply everywhere in the EU from 13 December 2024 and will be included in the Netherlands’ Commodities Act. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) will enforce the rules in the Netherlands.