Bureau Veritas InSpec Platform: Q&A With Chris Lai

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BV InSpec

Bureau Veritas launched their InSpec platform earlier this year, enabling small businesses and Amazon sellers to book quality inspections in more than 20 countries online.

In this interview with Chris Lai at Bureau Veritas in Hong Kong, you will learn why they launched the InSpec Platform, how you can use it to save time and money when booking quality inspections – and what you can expect in the future.

Discount

We are pleased to offer a coupon, IMPORT30USD, to all ChinaImportal.com subscribers today. Simply become an InSpec by BV registered user here and save an extra USD30 off your bookings until December 31st, 2019. Our standard price starts at USD245 per man-day when you book in advance.

About Bureau Veritas

Founded in 1828, Bureau Veritas is a global leader in Testing, Inspection, and Certification (TIC), delivering high-quality services to help clients meet the growing challenges of quality, safety, environmental protection, and social responsibility.

Bureau Veritas (BV) has over 12,000 TIC specialists including inspectors, auditors and lab professionals located in all the major sourcing and selling regions ready to help With rich consumer product knowledge, BV helps verify your product meets the safety and quality requirements for your destination market, and your factories maintain best in class process controls around quality, security, social and environmental compliance. Continue reading Bureau Veritas InSpec Platform: Q&A With Chris Lai

Plastics Manufacturing in China: A Complete Guide

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plastics granule

Many products made in China, and elsewhere in Asia, include components made of plastics that were melted and formed with the use of a mold or a die. And yet, not many buyers are familiar with that material and the related fabrication processes.

This article, written by Renaud Anjoran, founder of Sofeast in Shenzhen, will help you with the design, development, production, and quality control stages. Don’t rely on your suppliers for all the information about your products. Continue reading Plastics Manufacturing in China: A Complete Guide

How to Manage Order Follow-ups in China: By Asiaction

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order management

Once you’ve placed an order and wired the upfront deposit payment you’ve got two choices. You can either sit back and hope that the supplier will get your product right, or you can actively manage the process to defect early-stage quality issues – before it’s too late.

Doing so doesn’t require that you spend 2 months in a sleeping bag on the factory floor. In fact, you can manage order follow-ups from your phone or computer.

In this article, Gaël Tauvel, co-founder of Asiaction in Guangzhou, explains how to manage order follow-ups to ensure that the number of defective units is kept to a minimum.

This is covered

  • How often should importers follow up with their supplier?
  • What kind of information (e.g. photos and videos) should the supplier provide?
  • Order follow-ups when buying custom-designed VS private label products
  • How to resolve early-stage quality issues and defects

Continue reading How to Manage Order Follow-ups in China: By Asiaction

ASTM Standards When Manufacturing in Asia: By Maegan Burkhart

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ASTM standards

ASTM standards reflect industry-standard best practices in the United States and internationally, covering both product quality and safety. While most ASTM standards are voluntary, some are referenced by mandatory product regulations – including CPSIA.

In this article, Maegan Burkhart of InTouch Quality in Shenzhen, explains what every importer must know about ASTM standards:

  • Which product categories are covered by ASTM standards?
  • How do I know which ASTM standard apply to my product?
  • How do I know if an ASTM standard is mandatory or voluntary?
  • How to design a product according to an ASTM standard
  • How to verify if a product is compliant with a certain ASTM standard

Continue reading ASTM Standards When Manufacturing in Asia: By Maegan Burkhart

The Importers Guide to EN Standards: By Ferry Vermeulen

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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 The Importers Guide to EN Standards: By Ferry Vermeulen

How to Start a US Company to Import & Sell on Amazon.com

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John Gordon

It’s increasingly common that ecommerce companies in Europe and the Asia Pacific not only want to sell cross border to the US – but also sell within the country.

By incorporating in the United States, you can import and locally distribute products, for example via an Amazon fulfillment center (FBA) – even if you are based overseas.

In this article, John Gordon, founder of USA Corporate Services, explains what foreign ecommerce companies must know about the following:

  • LLC or Inc?
  • EIN Numbers
  • Incorporation fees
  • Required documentation
  • How to open a business bank account
  • Yearly maintenance costs
  • US taxes (and penalties) for non-resident foreigners

John, please introduce yourself and USA Corporate Services Inc

I’m John Gordon. I started the business now known as USA Corporate Services two years after graduating college. I was working in a low-paid job for a boss I didn’t get along with, and didn’t want to work for another boss ever again.

That was 35 years ago, and although it took several years to really get going, it’s a pleasure to still be here.

Twelve years ago I signed up for the Global Executive MBA program at Columbia Business School and London Business School. This was a very eye-opening experience that taught me more ways to give value to our customers.

Since that time, we have leveraged our knowledge and experience to focus on helping foreign firms and entrepreneurs set up businesses in the US. Continue reading How to Start a US Company to Import & Sell on Amazon.com

Patent Search When Importing Products from Asia: By John Goodhue

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john goodhue patent lawyer

Picture that you’ve found an interesting product on Alibaba.com, or at the Canton Fair – only to find out the hard way that the product is actually infringing on an existing patent.

Given the potential consequences, you got to be sure before you order your next ODM product. However, it’s often hard to assess if a products design or function is protected by a patent, and to what extent.

Thus, we decided to ask an expert – John Goodhue, patent attorney at Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C.

John, please introduce yourself and Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C.

My name is John Goodhue, I am a patent attorney at Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C. (“GCO”) in Clive, Iowa USA. GCO is an intellectual property boutique law firm helping clients protect their innovations and providing legal counsel to help avoid infringing the rights of others.

I also have purchased the Chinaimportal Starter Package myself and believe it has a wealth of information.

I also want to make clear that although I am providing valuable legal information, this should not be construed as legal advice.

Legal advice should only be provided to you by an appropriate attorney in the relevant jurisdiction after being apprised of the specific facts of your situation. Continue reading Patent Search When Importing Products from Asia: By John Goodhue

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

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

Bribery and Corruption in the Quality Control Industry: By Renaud Anjoran

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quality control bribery

Importers rely on third party quality inspection agents to accurately report defects on every order.

Receiving a batch with a high defect rate can put you out of business. Especially if you’re an Amazon seller, as you must maintain a very low return rate.

Send a shipment to a fulfillment center with a 10% defect rate and it’s game over.

In other words, your business stand and falls based on the accurate reporting of quality issues and defects, from your QC partner.

Now, what if QC partner accepts payments from your supplier – in order to not report quality issues that can potentially shut you down?

That’s a nightmare scenario for everyone importing from China.

But there are things you can do to save your business, before it’s too late.

Renaud, why is bribes a problem in the QC industry?

Many buyers are quite afraid of this, because the inspector does not report all of his findings. As a consequence, a batch of products that presents a serious and widespread quality problem is accepted.

It means the buyer pays entirely for an order, and (in the worst case) might be unable to use or sell the products. A lot of money is lost, and credibility is lost on the market. Materials have been processed and shipped across the ocean but have to be thrown away. It is a huge waste!

To make matters worse, as the buyer, you likely have no leverage over the supplier. Typically, the order has been paid in full at that point. Not many buyers have a strong enough contract and accompanying documentation that allows them to sue the supplier for the loss.

More than 95% of Chinese suppliers actually use the fact that you did a quality inspection before shipment to their defense.

They will say ‘oh, but even your inspector hasn’t found about this issue, so how were we supposed to find it?’. That’s frustrating, to say the least. Continue reading Bribery and Corruption in the Quality Control Industry: By Renaud Anjoran

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

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