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The country of origin must be clearly visible to the customer – either on the product itself, its packaging, or both.
You may not, for any reason, attempt to hide the country of origin.
There are certain exceptions though. For example, Watches can be labeled according to the origin of the movement.
Thus, a Watch that is manufactured and assembled in China may still be labeled as “Japanese Movement” (without a trace of “Made in China), if the movement is Japanese. Well, that is probably the result of successful lobbying efforts.
Products that don’t have a country of origin label cannot be sold in the US, and the customs authorities may even return the goods back to where it came.
There are various types of FCC labels that apply to certain types of electronic products.
UL (Underwriter Laboratories) develops standards primarily for electronics products. UL compliance is not mandatory, but the UL compliance mark is seen as a sign of quality.
Labeling Requirements in the European Union
The CE mark signals compliance with one or more EU directives, such as the following:
Low Voltage Directive
EN 71 Toy Safety Directive
Thus, the CE mark is found on all sorts of products, all which are seemingly unrelated. Examples include Watches, bicycles, laptops and finger paint.
These products are so different that they are regulated by entirely different sets of safety standards.
Products that are not covered by any “CE marking directive” shall not carry the CE mark. Such products include apparel, and other textiles.
The WEEE mark is mandatory on electronic products, and signals separate storage for electronics waste.
Apparel and textiles labelling
Clothing sold in the European Union must carry care instructions and fiber composition (i.e., 98% cotton, 2% spandex), in the language of the target market. So far, there is no mandatory sizing system.
Labeling Requirements in the United Kingdom
At the time of writing, the United Kingdom is still part of the European Union.
That may, however, change in a few years.
Yet, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom will stop implementing EU labeling requirements. UK importers, and businesses selling to the UK, don’t need to worry about future changes.
Despite complaints about the EU trying to over regulate everything (yes, there is some truth in that), many countries far beyond the EU implement their directives. For example, Korea, China and India has implemented RoHS.
Many other markets, such as Singapore, even accept products that are compliant with EU regulations.
Labeling Requirements in Australia and New Zealand
Many products imported to Australia and New Zealand are required to comply with certain product safety standards. These regulations also cover labeling requirements. As of today, the following products are regulated by one or more product safety standards:
Toys & Children’s products
Toys for children to and including 3 years, Toys and finger paints containing lead or other substances, Toys containing magnets, Inflatable toys, Projectile toys, Prams and strollers, Nightwear for children, Cots, Bunk beds, Balloon blowing kits, Baby walkers, Baby dummies, Baby bath aids, Aquatic toys.
Sunglasses, Luggage straps, Clothing & Textiles (Care labeling).
Vehicles, accessories, parts & tools
Vehicle ramps, Recovery straps for vehicles, MC helmets, Jacks, Bicycle helmets, Bicycles (pedal bicycles), Motor Vehicles (Child restraints).
Home & Furniture
Bean bags, Blinds, curtains and window fittings.
Hot water bottles, Fire extinguishers, Cosmetics, Disposable cigarette lighters.
Labeling Requirements in Canada
Canadian importers must keep track of a few different legal acts, regulating consumer product labels:
Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act
Textile Labeling Act
Here are few labeling requirements for imported products:
a. The label must contain the identity of the prepackaged product in terms of its function or generic name.
b. The label must contain the principal place of business and identity of the manufacturer or dealer.
c. The label must contain the information about the quality, age, size, quantity, nature, material content, geographic origin, performance, composition, where applicable.
d. The label must provide accurate information about the quantity of the product packaged in the container.
Do you need help to ensure compliance with all mandatory safety standards?
We know how hard it can be to get a grip on product safety standards, labeling, documents and lab testing. To help startups get a grip on the process, and avoid crippling fines and forced product recalls – we created the Starter Package:
a. An overview of product safety standards in the United States, Europe, Australia & more
b. Mandatory document sample files
c. Product labeling template files
d. Checklists that guide you step-by-step through the entire compliance process
In addition, you can also book quality inspections, lab testing and shipping directly from the platform. Click here to learn more.
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Co-founder of Asiaimportal (HK) Limited and based in Hong Kong. He has been quoted in and contributed to Bloomberg, SCMP, Alibaba Insights, Globalsources.com, China Chief Executive, Quartz Magazine and more.
Hey there, I’m Fredrik!
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