EU Agricultural Equipment Directives

An Expert's View about Agricultural Trailers in Spain

Last updated: 13 Mar 2011


Agricultural equipment is subject to several EU laws. The intention of the EU regulator is to harmonize road safety requirements and ensure driver, bystander and environmental protection. The regulator distinguishes the wheeled vehicle (tractor), its trailers, interchangeable towed equipment and equipment which are attached to the tractor (machinery).

Wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors as well as trailers and interchangeable towed equipment have to be approved and certified for sale in the European Union. Tractors and parts in compliance with EU law have to be “type approved” by an official body and undergo testing prior to exporting to the EU. The type approval law is directive 2003/37/EC. This law refers to separate directives which cover individual parts, such as fuel tank, seat belts, coupling devices. In order to obtain type approval for the assembled tractor, the individual parts have to be type approved in accordance with the separate directives [see list below].

A complete list of directives can be found on page 36 (

Some design/mechanical aspects of the tractor are not covered by EU law, such as masses and dimensions or windscreens, among others. It does not mean that they are unregulated. In the absence of EU law, national law applies.

Once tractors have been type approved, they can be sold on the EU market and circulate freely within the borders of the European Union.

Equipment mounted on tractors such as potato planters or shredders are subject to machine safety legislation 2006/42/EC ( Unlike tractor legislation, manufacturers can self-certify compliance. A product in compliance with the machine safety directive carries CE marking. In addition to machine safety, manufacturers may have to comply with electrical safety (low voltage), electromagnetic compatibility, noise and emission requirements.

The following information taken from the website of the Foreign Commercial Services for the US Mission to the EU outlines the necessary steps your company must take to comply with EU CE marking rules.

1. Read general guidance on standards/labeling/certification in the Country Commercial Guide

2. Find the applicable directive (legislation)

3. Determine the essential requirements in the directive (usually Annex I)

4. Note the harmonized European EN standards

5. Choose the appropriate conformity assessment module as described in the directive’s annex or presented in flow charts in the CE marking guidance booklet – link

6. Locate Notified Bodies (accredited test laboratories) – if required!

7. Compile a Technical File, and create a Declaration of Conformity and apply CE marking

8. Consider working with consultants

In essence, to sell a tractor, trailer or towed equipment, manufacturers need to apply for type approval (pre-market approval) whereas interchangeable machinery installed on or attached to the tractor is covered by CE marking legislation (self-declaration of conformity). The U.S. Commercial Service – Your Global Business Partner. 800-USA-TRADEAgricultural Equipment Page 3 of 5 The U.S. Commercial Service – Your Global Business Partner. 800-USA-TRADE



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Posted: 13 December 2010, last updated 13 March 2011