Law No. 7223: New Product Safety Legislation

With all the -proper and never enough – discussions and attention on the Corona pandemic, one should not miss out the significant change in the product safety legislation in Turkey.

Beginning of this March, on March 5th 2020, the Turkish Parliament has adopted a new law, namely Law No. 7223 on Product Safety and Technical Regulations (new law). The new law was published on the Official Gazette on March 12th, 2020, to enter into force one year later.

Until now, the main legislation on product safety was Law No.: 4703 on Preparation and Application of Technical Legislation (old law). The old law will remain in force and effect until the introduction of the new law on March 12, 2021. Both laws follow the systematic and main principles of the Acquis Communautaire. Turkey, as a customs union partner of the European Union (EU), has based its old law on the EU legislation that was in force until 2001. Now, Turkey, interestingly – that deserves another article, maybe with the contribution of political sciences, economy and sociology experts- follows the same approach and adopts the EU product safety regulations that is put into effect until now.

The new law marks a clear aim for itself in the introduction bill served to the parliament and in its reasoning: A flawless and sustainable balance of production, business and trade is of public interest, and the law enforcement should maintain the public interest on one side while keeping its intervention to the market minimum. This applies not only to domestic market, but also to the export goods, which would serve to a sustainable increase in foreign trade of Turkey. The European Union, being one of the leading export markets of Turkey, is taken as a basis of the legislation.

The integration of the Turkish legislation to the EU’s is clearly pointed out in the new law:

Article 2/4 of the new law casts the products that are intended to be introduced to the markets other than Turkish or European Union out of its scope.

The old law missed the changes in the EU legislation made especially in years 2010 and 2019, and therefore the new law was needed to be introduced following the EU rules. The new law also includes principles as to e-commerce, traceability of the ultimate manufacturer, product liability compensation and so on.

Roughly evaluating the new law, it is clear that it follows the same pattern since the old law and is very similar, if not identical to the EU product safety regulations. Thanks to the technical regulations introduced in Turkey in the last two decades, the product safety infrastructure in Turkey is very much integrated to the EU’s. In this regard, most of the EU technical regulations in Turkey automatically become a part of the Turkish legislation, thanks to the bilateral treaties between Turkey and the EU.

Therefore, the new law is definitely not a game changer.

The new law on the other hand introduces an extension of (i) the manufacturer’s, exporter’s and distributor’s liabilities, (ii) transparency on the conformity of products and (iii) the surveillance and inspection of the market and the products.

The new law segregates the risky products to levels of risky and extremely risky, placing different layers of protection and intervention measures.

It also extends the lapse of time in product liability from 2 years to 3 years commencing from the identification of the damage and the liable party. Even though the new law preserves the reference to the principles of Code of Obligations, which is the backbone of the civil law, it diverges from its two years principle for claiming damages.

The new law also makes more precise definitions to accreditation, risk concept, technical services, voluntary and compulsory recall, market surveillance, product liability and product safety.

The distributor and importer are held responsible and even regarded like the manufacturer for product safety matters. This liability extends to the authorized representative of the manufacturer in case of compensation liability.

The monetary fines in the law have also been extremely raised.

The new law will enter into force next year, on March 12th, 2021. Until then, the ministries will introduce and / or update the technical regulations. Though, with the old law infrastructure and the existing technical regulations, we do not expect a gap in the product safety practice in Turkey.

A comparison of the old and new laws in Turkish are here.

Please welcome to discuss in detail with regard to the product safety and liability environment in Turkey.

March 20th, 2020.