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RoHS Compliance When Importing Electronics from China

RoHS compliance

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RoHS restricts heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, in electronic products imported and sold in the European Union. RoHS compliance is mandatory, not optional, for importers.

In this article, you will learn how to ensure RoHS compliance when importing from China and selling to the EU:

  • What is RoHS?
  • Restricted RoHS heavy metals
  • Product categories
  • CE marking requirements
  • RoHS marking
  • How to find RoHS compliant components
  • RoHS compliance testing
  • Accredited testing companies
  • RoHS testing costs

RoHS and RoHS 2

RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) is a European Union product certification standard that limits the usage of certain substances (mainly heavy metals) in electronics. The restricted substances are listed below: Continue Reading →

The Importers Guide to EN Standards: By Ferry Vermeulen

european standards

Understanding EN standards, or harmonised standards, is an integral part of ensuring compliance when selling products in the European Union. In this article, Ferry Vermeulen of INSTRKTIV explains what an EN standard is, and what you must know to make sure that your products are fully compliant.

1. What is an EN standard?

EN standards are standards that have been developed by a standardisation institute, mandated by the European Commission and are in order to comply with one or more mandatory essential requirements from a specific European directive.

Products that meet the requirements of harmonised standards [applicable in all EU member states] benefit from a presumption of conformity with the corresponding essential requirements.

Generally speaking, harmonised standards contain the following content:

Scope – Describes the field of application of the standard.

Normative reference – Lists the standards that have been used and which are essential for the correct application of the standard.

Terms and definitions – Describes used terms and definitions.

Requirements – Gives detailed requirements on how to meet the more general product requirements from the related directive.

Warnings, markings, and instructions – Describes how to properly instruct users about product risks and inform them about important product characteristics?

Test methods – Describes how to test if a product meets the requirements and how to document this for the technical file.

2. Where can I find EN standards online?

Whereas directives are mandatory and can be freely accessed via the website of the European Commission, standards are voluntary and need to be purchased.

You can find them for example via the ISO, IEC, DIN or BS website. Continue Reading →

REACH Compliance & Restricted Chemicals When Importing from China

REACH China

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REACH is an EU regulation restricting chemicals, heavy metals and pollutants in all products. Products that contain excessive amounts of restricted substances, such as lead or AZO dyes, are illegal to import and sell within the single market.

In this article, I explain how you can determine if REACH testing is necessary for your products, and the steps you must take to properly ensure compliance.

What is REACH?

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and restriction of CHemicals) is a European Union regulation, addressing the production, importing and sales of chemical substances or finished products containing chemical substances.

Well, that’s pretty much everything. As an importer based in an EU country, this means that you are responsible for ensuring the compliance of your products. The responsibility can never be shifted to your Chinese supplier. Continue Reading →

EN 71 & Toy Safety When Importing from China

EN 71

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EN 71 compliance is mandatory when importing toys to the European Union. Yet, many Importers fail to understand that EN 71 compliance is more complex than a printed CE mark.

In this article, we explain what EN 71 really is, and what you must do to ensure that your imported toys are compliant. The alternative is not an option.

What is EN 71?

EN71 is a set of European Product Safety standard that applies to all toys sold in the European Union.

EN 71, which is also a part of the CE directive, has been put in place to ensure that all toys sold in the EU meet certain minimum safety standards on the following factors: Continue Reading →

Electrical Safety Standards For US Importers: By Joey Kwok of CMA Testing

electrical safety

Today, US ecommerce companies and Amazon sellers, import electronics directly from Chinese manufacturers – without even having a basic understanding of product safety requirements and liability.

Electronics are high risk products. Reports of unsafe lithium batteries and chargers are frequent.

A major reason for this is the lack of information on what US electronics importers must do to ensure compliance. Believe it or not, but for many electronic products, there are not even mandatory safety standards.

Hence, many believe that they don’t need to care about compliance when importing power banks, or any widget that comes with an AC adapter.

That is not the case.

If, or when, something goes wrong – you will be liable. If someone is injured, or if property is damaged, you might be looking at millions of dollars in losses. It’s game over.

Instead, Importers and Amazon sellers must rely on ‘voluntary standards’ from UL and ETL, that are ‘de facto’ mandatory. At least for anyone who want to sleep at night.

These things are complex, but absolutely essential.

Luckily, we have worked with Joey Kwok Deputy Manager of CMA Testing in Hong Kong, and a leading expert on US electronic product regulations.

Notice: Be sure to read this one at least two or three times, and feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

Joey, please tell us a bit about what you do at CMA Testing in Hong Kong

CMA Testing, is a well-known third party assurance body with rapid global expansion, specializes in testing, inspection and certification services.

Our worldwide networks have been spreading out rapidly to Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America.

Our compliance services cover toys, consumer electronics and electrical products, textiles & garments, materials, chemicals, food & food contact articles, furniture, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, environmental and more. Continue Reading →

OEKO Tex Standard 100: A Complete Guide

OEKO tex standard fabrics
OEKO Tex Standard 100 is a standard used to check harmful chemicals and heavy metals in apparel and other textile products.

Many Importers are familiar with OEKO Tex Standard 100, but are still uncertain whether compliance is required by law, and how the entire certification process works.

In this article, we answer some of the most common questions clothing and textiles importers have about OEKO Tex Standard 100:

  • What is OEKO Tex Standard 100?
  • Is compliance required by law?
  • What is the difference between Standard 100 and REACH?
  • How do I find Standard 100 certified manufacturers?
  • How do I verify OEKO Tex Certificates?
  • How do I book lab testing?

What is OEKO Tex Standard 100?

OEKO Tex Standard 100 is an international lab testing and textile certification system, applicable to both fabrics and finished clothing.

OEKO Tex, which is an independent organization based in Switzerland, created the 100 Standard as a collection of several international regulatory frameworks:

However, OEKO Tex takes it one step further than the US and EU, as the 100 Standard also includes the following:

  • Important legal regulations, such as banned Azo colorants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel, etc.
  • Numerous harmful chemicals, even if they are not yet legally regulated.
  • Numerous also environmentally relevant substance classes

In other words, OEKO Tex Standard 100 sets the bar higher than any government or state agency in the world.

For Importers selling in several countries and markets, ensuring OEKO Tex Standard 100 is simply a matter of practicality, as you can be sure that you match the highest standard there is.

Notice: REACH is an EU regulation, that restricts hundreds of chemicals and heavy metals in textiles, CPSIA, which is only required for children’s products in the United States, restricts lead content in textiles. Continue Reading →

Product Liability Insurance For Importers & Amazon Sellers

product liability insurance

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Product liability insurance for Importers (sometimes called Import liability insurance) can save you from financial ruin, in case your products would be the case of injury or property damage.

Falling back on your supplier is never an option, so get used to the fact that you will be on your own to deal with possible product liability claims in the future.

This is covered:

  • What is covered by a product liability insurance?
  • What is not covered?
  • For what kind of products is an insurance necessary?
  • Do I need a product liability insurance to sell on Amazon?
  • Can I get an insurance for the US if I sell in another country?

We also provide a list of companies offering product liability insurance products in the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

What is product liability insurance?

A product liability insurance can protect your business against personal injury or property damage claims. If you sell a product that, for any reason, harms a customer or damage property, the insurance covers legal and court fees.

With a product liability insurance, you are unprotected. Injury or damage claims can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s practically impossible to be completely certain that your products don’t pose any risk whatsoever to your customers – regardless of how many quality checks and lab tests you do.

These are a few examples what might go wrong:

a. Li-ion battery powered devices: Fire hazard, explosion hazard

b. Children’s products: Choking hazard

c. Furniture: Fire hazard

d. Apparel: Choking hazard

e. Food contact materials. Food and beverage contamination hazard

While T-shirts are much less prone to explosions, compared to high capacity power banks, the risk that you will face a claim is always present. Continue Reading →

Shipping Lithium Batteries From China: UN 38.3, Packaging & Labels

Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

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Importing standalone lithium batteries, or Li-ion powered electronic devices, from China?

Then you might be aware of the strict and complicated safety regulations, covering labeling, export packaging and documentation.

However, you might still struggle to understand how you should go about to actually follow these regulations when importing li-ion batteries and electronics from China.

In this article, we cover the following:

  • What types of lithium batteries and devices are regulated?
  • UN 38.3 and other safety standards
  • Export packaging requirements
  • Documentation requirements
  • Lab testing requirements
  • Shipping lithium batteries by sea
  • Shipping lithium batteries to Amazon

Notice that IATA and air couriers update these regulations on a yearly basis.

However, you can safely assume that it’s not going to get any easier to transport lithium batteries and devices in the future. Continue Reading →

How to Write a User Manual When Importing Products to the EU: By Tom van de Wiel

tom manualise

Product manuals, or user guides, are not just ‘nice to have’. At least if you are importing and selling in the European Union.

They are absolutely essential to many product categories, as product manuals are mandatory.

I am aware of several cases, when the customs authorities have seized shipments, simply because the product was not bundled with a manual.

So, we decided to ask an expert, Tom van de Wiel, CEO of Manualise.

In this interview, with one of Europe’s leading experts in this area, you will learn the following:

  • What kind of products require a manual?
  • In which cases is a product manual not required?
  • What information must be included in the manual?
  • What can happen if I don’t have a manual?

Continue Reading →

5 Product Safety Misconceptions That Can Ruin Your Import Business

compliance misunderstandings

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Product compliance can often feel overwhelming. Certificates, laboratory testing and supplier background check. It makes your head spin.

Perhaps this topic is so overwhelming, that we simply refuse to believe that it applies to us and our products.

We want to believe that the supplier somehow got it figured out, or that the product is already approved by the customs in the US or Europe.

But exploding hoverboards and forced recalls are real.

So real that all importers, regardless of product category, can’t afford to make a single mistake when it comes to product compliance.

That’s why I decided to debunk the 5 most common myths about product safety, when importing products from China.

Let’s begin. Continue Reading →

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