BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - As of December 29, 2009, when the new Machine Safety Directive (2006/42/EC) becomes mandatory, U.S. exporters of machines will need to identify a person established in the European Union (EU) who is authorized to keep the manufacturer's technical file or have quick access to it. This person's name must appear on the declaration of conformity along with the name and address of the manufacturer.

Point 2 of Annex II of the new Machine Directive outlines this new requirement: "name and address of the person authorized to compile the technical file, who must be established in the Community."

The person could be no more than a letterbox, a point of contact for the authorities in case there are questions about conformity of the machine or about accidents. The person based in Europe could be the importer/distributor, a lawyer, an authorized representative, or any other person. The manufacturer remains responsible for compiling the technical file. The technical file does not have to be physically in the EU but should be rapidly accessible in case of need. This requirement is an example of the beefed-up surveillance and enforcement the EU is putting into effect to back up the CE mark program.

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