Product Labeling Regulations in the US, EU and Australia

Posted on 43 Comments

Suggestion: Watch the 20 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

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 Product Labeling Regulations in the US, EU and Australia

What is the cost of CE marking and certification?

Posted on 4 Comments

CE marking cost

CE marking is mandatory when importing many products to the European Union. The stakes are high, as your shipment can be seized by the customs authorities if it’s not properly CE marked and certified.

But what is the cost of CE marking and certification? And, who should pay for it?

In this article, you will learn how you can manage the CE process on your own without paying a single euro – but why it makes sense to hire a consultant to handle certain parts of the process.

At least the first time you import a product that must be CE marked.

But first, let’s recap on what CE marking actually is:

CE is a framework, rather than a standard. Many, but not all, EU directives require that a product is CE marked.

To CE mark a product, you must take these steps:

a. Create the CE label file (and make sure that your products get labelled correctly)

b. Confirm all applicable directives (i.e., RoHS and LVD)

c. Create a User Manual, Technical file and Declaration of Conformity

1. You can practically do it yourself without spending a cent

CE marking involves creating label files and a set of documents. That’s really how simple it can be to get your product CE compliant.

You can find a lot of information about applicable directives and EN standards for free on the internet, including here on Chinaimportal.com.

It’s indeed time consuming, but you can do everything by yourself, for free.

For most products, third party lab testing is not even mandatory, even though it’s recommended.

If you decide to go through the CE marking process on your own, you need to take the following steps:

a. Research all applicable directives

b. Create label files

c. Create Declaration of Conformity, Manual and Technical file

While a test report may not be mandatory, notice that the authorities in any EU state can require that you provide a test report to prove that the product is compliant with all relevant EN directives.

Normally, you don’t need to submit the documentation or get any form of third party approval. You just create the documents and keep them for at least 10 years.

It’s indeed time consuming to figure out how these documents should look the first time, but it’s highly rewarding as you can easily replicate the process when importing other products in the future. Continue reading What is the cost of CE marking and certification?

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

Posted on 6 Comments

Suggestion: Watch the 20 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

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 Regulations in the European Union: A Beginner’s Guide

Declaration of Conformity for EU Importers: By Ferry Vermeulen

Posted on 4 Comments

ferry vermuelen

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 Declaration of Conformity for EU Importers: By Ferry Vermeulen

Myth and Reality of CE Marking When Importing from China

Posted on 1 Comment

ce-marking-myths

The CE mark is a well known compliance marked, found on a wide range of different products, for example electronics, toys and machinery. The CE mark signals compliance with all, to the specific product, applicable regulations: For example the Low Voltage Directive or the EN 71 Toy Safety Directive. The CE Mark is not applicable to all products. However, it is mandatory for all products within its scope of regulations.

As I will further explain in this article, there is a lot more to CE marking than what meets the eye, namely the printed little logo. While many importers are aware that there are requirements for testing and documentation, plenty of businesses fail to understand how such documentation is produced, and what it must include.

Then there is China. CE marking procedures are not developed with importers in mind. While ensuring CE marking compliance is relatively simple for an EU or US based manufacturer, which is only concerned with its own products – it’s far more complex for importers buying from contract manufacturers in China, and other developing countries in Asia. We debunk 6 common myths concerning CE marking when importing from China, and explain the background to each one.

Continue reading Myth and Reality of CE Marking When Importing from China

CE, RoHS and FCC Certification Explained – Interview with Han Zuyderwijk of CEmarking.net

Posted on 12 Comments

Han-Zuyderwijk

Han Zuyderwijk (we’ll give you a free Supplier Screening if you can properly pronounce his last name) is the founder of cemarking.net, the leading online resource for information on product certification. In this interview, Han explains what CE, RoHS and FCC really means – and why European and American importers should care!

Han, please tell us a bit about what you do and how you got started.

Hi, my name is Han Zuyderwijk. My last name is really a tongue-breaker, so everyone calls me just Han. Han is short for Johannes: in English you’d say “John”. I am Dutch. Yeah, a real cheese head… Continue reading CE, RoHS and FCC Certification Explained – Interview with Han Zuyderwijk of CEmarking.net