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Accredited Lab Testing Companies in China: An Overview

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As an importer to countries in  the European Union, North America, Middle East or Australia, it is your responsibility to make sure the products you’re importing are in compliance with country’s safety regulations and defined quality standards.

For this, you need to get your products tested and certified by the accredited lab testing companies.

This is why as an importer from China to North America, Europe, Australia or other parts of the world where governments have strict rules and regulations for imported products, the first thing you may want to learn about is how to get your products tested from accredited labs.

You can’t import products to Europe, the United States, Australia and other developed markets – unless they meet the standards and norms defined by these countries.

Importing untested products can not only result in heavy penalties, but also confiscation of imported goods, while some countries can even blacklist your name as an importer who is banned from importing goods in the country.

So if you’re an importer from China or just starting your career as one, it is important to find accredited labs for your products in China that can make sure your products meet all the legal requirements and checks enforced by the country where you’re importing goods. Continue Reading →

Product Safety Standards & Labeling in Canada: A Complete Guide

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Consumer product safety standards and labeling laws and regulations are designed to ensure the safety of consumers in Canada. They provides a detailed guideline and safety requirements (and more) to sellers, manufacturers, and dealers who want to import goods to Canada.

To import, manufacture, advertise or sell a product in Canada, you must possess certifications, lab tests, compliance with the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, Consumer Packaging, and Labeling Act, and other regulations based on the type of product you want to import or manufacture.

In this article, I have provided detailed information about the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, also known as CCPSA, what it means for importers, and what is required if you want to import products to Canada.

What is Canada Consumer Product Safety Act?

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act was passed as a law by the government in 2010 and went into effect in 2011 to ensure the safety of Canadian consumers. With proposed changes to the Hazardous Products Act (HPA), it replaced the 40 years old HPA with new regulations and amendments.

According to the act, all consumer products in Canada must be regulated under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA). The law was proposed after the growing consumer complaints about the safety of consumer products in the country.

As the HPA was not amended for the last 40 years, it failed to provide safety and protection against many modern products and gadgets, especially toys. There was a need for a new act with a set of modern regulations and laws to ensure public safety.

Under the new act, manufacturers and importers are now required to obtain safety information in the form of mandatory checks, tests, and certifications (if required by the inspectors from Health Canada), to meet the requirements of Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA).

The CCPSA is designed to prohibit the importers and manufacturers from importing, manufacturing, selling, and even advertising consumer products that are in any way poses danger to safety and health of humans.

The new act along with also Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act prohibits importers and manufacturers to misrepresent a product, misguide or mislead consumers.

Health Canada is responsible to enforce the CCPSA regulations and amendments within the borders of Canada. The inspectors from Health Canada have an authority to inspect any product and ask seller, importer, or manufacturer to provide certificates or test results to ensure compliance with CCPSA. Continue Reading →

UL Certification When Importing from China: A Complete Guide

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UL (Underwriter Laboratories) develops electronics safety standards for the United States, and provide related testing, certification and auditing services.

Unlike the EU, where importers must comply with a set of harmonized electronics safety standards – American electronics importers are free to choose which standards to comply with.

UL standards are developed for specific electronic products, or components, such as cords, batteries and plugs.

Below follows a few examples:

  • UL 1642 – Standard for Lithium Batteries
  • UL 20 – General-Use Snap Switches
  • UL 2595 – General Requirements for Battery-Powered Appliances
  • UL 2089 – Standard for Vehicle Battery Adapters
  • UL 1740 – Standard for Robots and Robotic Equipment
  • UL 879A – Standard for LED Sign and Sign Retrofit Kits

You can buy UL standard catalogs directly from standardscatalog.ul.com. Each standard (more than one may apply to your product) costs from US$400 to 1000.

Assuming you, or your supplier, lack the technical skills to implement a standard in a real life product, you may also need to budget for consulting fees.

That, and much more, is covered in this comprehensive guide for complying with UL standards, when importing electronic products from China. Continue Reading →

Product Regulations in the United States: A Beginner’s Guide

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About to import products to the United States, or sell on Amazon.com? Then you must stay on top of the whole spectrum of mandatory safety standards, labeling, documentation and lab testing requirements.

It’s a heavy topic, but one you need to know inside out – or face the risk of having your goods seized by the US customs, getting your Amazon account shut down – or worse (yes, it can get a lot worse than that).

In this beginners guide to US safety standards and regulations, you will learn what every importer and ecommerce seller must know – including safety standards (both mandatory and non-mandatory), labeling requirements, document requirements and lab testing requirements.

Why product compliance is so complicated for US importers

In the European Union, there are mandatory directive and EN standards for hundreds of different products. Some complain that the EU is too heavy handed, and force unnecessary regulation on its member states.

There’s some truth to that, but what if there was no set of mandatory safety standards for most products? What if Importers had to make a complex regulatory assessment of their own (for which most are not qualified), rather than relying on a clear product compliance framework?

Enter the United States.

For many products, even electronics, there are no mandatory safety standards or directives. Instead, it’s up the Importer to make an assessment and apply ‘the necessary standards and procedures” to ensure that the imported products are safe.

Instead, product standards are developed by private organizations such as UL, ASTM and ANSI.

This is ideal, if you know how to make that assessment.

But if you’re just starting out, and don’t happen to have a team of lawyers and engineers by your side, it’s a lot more complicated. That, and much more, will be covered in this guide. Continue Reading →

Product Regulations in the European Union: A Beginner’s Guide

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Product regulations, such as safety standards and labeling requirements, are mostly ‘harmonized’ in the European Union.

As such, the same regulations apply in all member states. A product that is compliant in the United Kingdom, is therefore also compliant in Poland and Italy.

The European Union has arguably the most developed set of product regulations, covering essentially every product category from electronics and toys – to textiles and furniture.

In some cases, it’s only a matter of ensuring compliance with simple labeling requirements, while compliance for other products require lab testing and plenty of documentation.

In this article, we explain what startups and ecommerce companies must know, before importing products to the European Union.

European Union (EN) Product Safety Standards

The EU has developed standards that apply to specific products, materials or components. Below follows a few examples:

  • EN 54: Fire detection and fire alarm systems
  • EN 71: Safety of toys
  • EN 166: Personal eye protection. Specifications
  • EN 374: Protective gloves against chemicals and micro-organisms

Continue Reading →

Product Lab Testing in China: A Complete Guide

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Having your products lab tested is the only way to be sure that your imported goods are safe, and compliant with all applicable regulations.

Importing non-compliant products is illegal, and can result in financial ruin if your cargo is ever seized by the customs authorities – or a forced recall.

But, how do you go about to actually get your products tested? That question, and many more, are answered in this complete guide to product lab testing in China.

Keep reading, and learn how to find the right lab, keep the testing costs down and why a test report is not always enough.

Why do I need laboratory testing?

As you may know, many products are regulated by one or more safety standards or chemical restrictions.

For example, children’s products imported to the United States are regulated by the CPSIA – which requires importers to present verifiable test reports from an accredited third party.

As such, a lab test report is simply a document that proves that a product is compliant with the relevant regulations and standards.

When it comes to some product categories, lab testing is mandatory, but not for most. As such, obtaining a test report is, in many cases optional. Continue Reading →

Product Compliance Requirements on Amazon: A Complete Guide

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Importing from Asia and selling on Amazon? That means you are fully responsible for ensuring that your product is fully compliant with all mandatory safety standards, labeling and document requirements.

Keep reading, and you will learn if your product category requires a pre-approval, and the documentation you must provide to Amazon’s category approval team to gain access.

In addition, we also explain why you cannot rely on your supplier to help you out, if something goes wrong – in which case your account may be suspended.

Who is responsible for ensuring compliance of products sold on Amazon.com?

The Seller is always responsible for ensuring that the product is compliant with all mandatory safety standards, labeling requirements and documentation requirements.

The supplier is not responsible, which means that it’s entirely up to you – as an importer and/or Amazon seller – to go through the compliance procedures.

For example, this may include the following steps:

1. Assess all applicable safety standards and chemical restrictions that apply in the target market, and communicate these to your supplier (before production)

2. Confirm all applicable labeling requirements, and create label files that you later send to the supplier (again, before production starts)

3. Follow up with lab tests, after production

4. Create all mandatory documents, such as photocopies and declaration of conformity

What you must do to comply in practical terms depend on the product and market. Continue Reading →

Product Labeling Regulations in the US, EU and Australia

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About to import products from China or elsewhere in Asia? Then you need to ensure that the products are properly labeled.

In this article, we explain what every importer must know about labeling requirements in the EU, US and Australia.

We also explain why you cannot rely on your manufacturer to ensure compliance on your behalf. In fact, most of them don’t even know how products must be labeled in your market.

Keep reading, to ensure that your products are not seized by the customs authorities!

What is ‘Product Labeling Requirements’?

Most countries have legal requirements for how a product shall be labeled. A label can, for example, inform the customer about the following:

  • The manufacturing country
  • If the product meets certain legal safety requirements (i.e., compliance marks)
  • Size, material and other general product information
  • Warning labels and user instructions

Some labeling requirements apply to all, or a wide range of, product categories.

For example, all products in the US must be labelled with the country of origin (i.e., Made in China). In the European Union, many products must be CE marked.

Other labeling requirements apply to specific products. Examples include toys, electronics and textiles – each with their own set of unique labeling requirements.

Notice that labeling requirements are usually just one of many requirements that importers must fulfil to ensure compliance with certain regulations.

In addition, you may need to keep track of the following:

Technical Compliance: This means that the product is manufactured according to certain technical standards, or substance restrictions. The product is therefore able to pass the necessary tests.

Documents Requirements: The Importer is required to create and store a set of documents. Such documents may include circuit diagrams, component lists, design drawings and risk assessments.

It is important to underline that this article does not include information above the two points above. Continue Reading →

Declaration of Conformity for EU Importers: By Ferry Vermeulen

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Product compliance is much more than just laboratory testing. European importers, in virtually every industry, are obliged to issue certain documentation – to demonstrate compliance with all applicable product regulations.

Perhaps the most important of all documents is the Declaration of Conformity (DoC).

It’s a rather complex topic, so we decided to ask an expert. His name is Ferry Vermeulen, founder of INSTRKTIV.com.

In this article, Ferry explains what every EU based importer must know about drafting a Declaration of Conformity, and the various other documents you need.

Ferry, tell us a bit about yourself and Instrktiv.com

I am founder and director of business development at INSTRKTIV. After starting my own industrial design agency back in 2006, I co-founded the company Manualise in 2009.

As the CEO from 2009 – 2015, my content strategy brought the company over 15 #1 Google positions on main keywords like ‘creating user manuals’ which led to many international clients, such as Electrolux, AkzoNobel, Schneider Electric and Lid.

In 2016 I founded INSTRKTIV GmbH and moved from Amsterdam to Berlin. INSTRKTIV helps companies and brands to produce their technical documentation.

The company stands for content quality, both in the field of usability and liability: The manual as a legal document, which not only serves the keystone in terms of liability but also promotes safe and proper use, is at the core of this.

It makes me happy to help German and international companies developing appealing and compliant documentation which contribute to a better user experience.

In my ‘Man-Machine-Blog” I give hands on tips & techniques to improve the quality of content and improve the user experience. I cover topics like CE marking, the Declaration of Conformity (Read more) and Simplified Technical English. Continue Reading →

Compliance Q&A with a Watch Manufacturer: Subcontractors & Substance Regulations

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We often write about product compliance on Chinaimportal.com. However, we thought it was about time to cover a different angle: The viewpoint of the supplier. During a recent visit to Shenzhen, I had the opportunity to ask a few critical questions to a leading, unnamed, Watch manufacturer. Keep reading, and learn more about compliance and risks in Watch manufacturing – lessons that can be applied to virtually any industry.

Can you ensure compliance with REACH, RoHS, CA Prop 65 and other substance regulations?

Yes, as our main markets are the United States and the European Union, we must ensure compliance with a variety of standards and regulations. Among them are those you just mentioned: REACH, RoHS and California Proposition 65.

Continue Reading →