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List of Sourcing Companies in the United Kingdom: Top 7 Agencies

UK sourcing agencies

Importing custom designed products from Asia doesn’t always require that you look overseas. In some cases, you can find the best partner closer to home. In this article, we list some of the UK’s leading Asia sourcing and product development companies.

What are the benefits of working with a UK based sourcing company?

If you’re looking to import goods from, for example, China, it’s natural to assume a Chinese sourcing agency know more about their own country – compared to one based outside. While that may be true to some extent, importing products from Asia involves a lot more than finding the right supplier.

In reality, most sourcing companies know little about UK safety standards, product labeling, VAT and customs procedures, which can have severe consequences for you as an importer.

A sourcing agency based in the UK, on the other hand, is far more likely to understand these requirements. Besides, sourcing agencies headquartered in the UK always have subsidiaries or other forms of representation in Asia. Continue Reading →

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 →

EU VAT Registration for American and Asian Importers: A Complete Guide

Matthias Oldiges

Businesses in the US and Asia importing or selling products to the European Union must get their act together when it comes to Value Added Tax (VAT). Yet, understanding how to register and pay VAT, as a non-European company, is complicated.

As such, we decided to ask one of the Europes leading VAT experts, Dr. Matthias Oldiges – Managing Associate at KMLZ (Küffner, Maunz, Langer and Zugmaier) in Munich.

These topics are covered:

1. VAT when selling cross-border (B2C) to customers in the European Union as a non-EU company

2. VAT when importing into the European Union (i.e., Amazon FBA) as a non-EU company

3. VAT threshold in different EU states

4. How to get VAT registered as a non-EU company

5. How to pay VAT as a non-EU company

Matthias, how did you end up working for KMLZ?

You can know something about everything or know a lot about something. KMLZ decided on the latter and concentrated on VAT law, customs law and criminal law. I wrote my doctoral thesis on a VAT legal topic.

This ultimately led me to KMLZ, where I have now been working as a lawyer (Managing Associate) for almost six years. We advise our clients on VAT and customs law related matters within Europe, as well as worldwide.

Our strong network of experienced and leading VAT experts, in all Member States of the European Union and beyond, enables us to provide our clients with international advice at the highest levels. 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 →

VAT on Imported Goods from China: A Complete Guide

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Importers based in the European Union must pay Value Added Tax (VAT) on top of the Customs value. In this article, we help you navigate the complexities of ‘Import VAT’ when buying from China.

Keep reading, and learn more about VAT calculations, and whether or not Import VAT is deductible.

We also explain how and when you declare and pay VAT, and much more.

What is Value Added Tax (VAT)?

VAT is a consumption tax in the European Union. In B2C transactions, VAT is always included in the price. If you, for example, buy a product online from an EU based online store, the price you pay includes VAT.

The seller can then offset the VAT it ads on its sales, to the VAT it paid to other other EU businesses, when buying products or services.

Below follows an example:

  • Sales: $10,000 (Including VAT, 20%)
  • Expenses: $5,000 (Including VAT 20%)

This allows us to make the following calculation.

  • Sales VAT: $2,000
  • Paid VAT: $1,000
  • Total: $2,000 – $1,000 = $1,000

Thus, I would need to pay $1,000 of VAT. If I’d spent more on VAT than I added on top of my sales, I would instead get money back from the state.

Continue Reading →

Customs & Taxes When Importing from China: US, EU, Australia & Canada

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Starter Package: All Categories

Understanding import duties, customs fees, VAT and other taxes is crucial when importing products from China. However, each country or market (i.e., the EU) have their own customs duty rates and tax calculation methods.

In this article, we explain what every Importer must know about custom & taxes when importing products to the following countries / markets.

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 →

Product Labeling Regulations in the US, EU and Australia

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Starter Package: All Categories

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 →