REACH Compliance & Restricted Chemicals When Importing from China

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REACH China

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. That’s why we invited Compliance & Risks, based in Ireland, for help.

In addition, Compliance & risks – a leading product compliance company based in Ireland – answers some of the most common questions importers have about REACH.

Continue reading REACH Compliance & Restricted Chemicals When Importing from China

List of Product Testing Labs in China: An Overview

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accredited laboratories

Lab testing is the only way to verify that your imported product is compliant with all applicable safety standards and substance regulations. However, not all test reports are equal, as only those issued by accredited testing companies are actually valid.

For example, the CPSC in the United States lists testing labs around the world that are accredited, meaning that they only accept test reports issued by the listed companies.

In this article, we list some of the world’s leading testing labs in Mainland China and Hong Kong:

  • QIMA (Formerly Asiainspection)
  • CMA Testing
  • SGS
  • TUV
  • Bureau Veritas
  • Intertek

In addition, you’ll also get these questions answered:

  • Why do I neeed an accredited testing laboratory to check my products?
  • FCC Accredited Labs in Asia
  • FDA (USA) Accredited Labs in Asia

Continue reading List of Product Testing Labs in China: An Overview

Product Testing Costs When Buying from Asia – A Complete Guide

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lab test costs

Today, one or more safety standards and substance regulations apply to most consumer products imported to the European Union, the United States, Australia, and other markets. As product compliance is rather an exception than the rule among Chinese manufacturers, third-party compliance testing is often the only way to be sure that you are not importing non-compliant products.

In this article, we guide you through the different types of compliance test and their each respective cost structure and explain what you can do to reduce said costs.

advanced materials

Chemicals and heavy metals testing (REACH, EN 71 and CA Prop 65)

Substance regulations, such as REACH in the European Union and California Proposition 65, restricts substances in some, or all consumer goods. Such substances often include lead, cadmium, formaldehyde, and phthalates. While batch testing is not always mandatory, compliance is.

Therefore, an importer may choose to which extent its products shall be tested.

Testing companies set the cost based on the number of substances (as requested by a certain regulation or standard) and the number of materials or variations, of said material. The following may count as a variation: Continue reading Product Testing Costs When Buying from Asia – A Complete Guide

Australia Product Safety Standards: What Importers Must Know

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

About to import products from China to Australia or New Zealand? Ensuring compliance with mandatory safety standards should not come as an afterthought, but be the core focus when importing any consumer product to Australia.

Importing non-compliant products to Australia is an offense, which may not only result in a forced recall, but fines counted in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In other words, you only got one chance to get it right. Keep reading, to learn what every Australian importer must know about product safety:

  • Which products are regulated in Australia?
  • What is an AS/NZS standard?
  • How do I know which AS/NZS safety standards apply to my product?
  • How do I verify that a product conforms to a certain AS/NZS standard?
  • Do I need to get my products lab tested?
  • Who is responsible for ensuring compliance?
  • Non-compliances fines and penalties

Which products are regulated in Australia?

Several product categories, ranging from bicycle helmets and sunglasses to children’s toys, are regulated by a set of mandatory product safety standards. While there are also voluntary standards, we focus on the mandatory standards in this article. The following product categories are regulated, by at least one safety standard, in Australia and New Zealand:

  • Animals & agriculture
  • Baby & nursery
  • Bicycles
  • Boats & marine
  • Clothing & accessories
  • Fire & flammables
  • Food & groceries
  • Furniture, homewares & window furnishings
  • Gas & electrical appliances
  • Hardware & building materials
  • Health & cosmetics
  • Household chemicals
  • Novelties
  • Spas, pools & swimming
  • Sports & recreation
  • Tobacco & smoking accessories
  • Toys
  • Vehicles & accessories
  • Weapons

The Australian government lists all categories, to which mandatory safety standards apply, on Product Safety Australia. On this portal, you’ll find all mandatory product safety regulations and applicable AS/NZS standards. Continue reading Australia Product Safety Standards: What Importers Must Know

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

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

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

Product Labeling Regulations in the US, EU and Australia

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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

FDA Certification & Labels When Importing from China: A Complete Guide

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

Planning to import kitchen utensils, food products or medical devices from China, and sell in the United States? Then you need to ensure compliance with all mandatory FDA administered regulations.

In this comprehensive guide to FDA regulations and requirements for importers, you will learn what you must know about FDA labeling requirements, premarket approvals, documentation and lab testing.

In addition, you will also learn how Amazon.com is enforcing FDA regulations, such as 21 CFR, and why you should not rely on your manufacturer in China to manage the process for you.

Which products are regulated by the FDA?

FDA, standing for the Food and Drug Administration, is a government agency, not a standard or regulation in itself. The FDA administers regulations that affect various product categories.

a. Food Contact Materials / Kitchen Utensils

The FDA administers 21 CFR, which regulates all types of materials made to be in contact with food and beverages.

21 CFR covers plastics, ceramics, coatings, glass and metal used in both food packaging and all types of kitchen utensils.

For example, food packaging and kitchen utensils may not contain toxic or harmful chemicals and heavy metals – or affect the taste and smell of the food or beverage.

21 CFR mainly concerns the substances used in kitchen utensils (both electrical and non-electrical) and food packaging. Continue reading FDA Certification & Labels When Importing from China: A Complete Guide

Product Safety Standards & Labeling in Canada: A Complete Guide

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Canadian Product Regulations

Consumer product safety standards and labeling laws and regulations are designed to ensure the safety of consumers in Canada. They provide a detailed guideline and safety requirements (and more) to sellers, manufacturers, and dealers who want to import goods to Canada.

To import, manufacture, advertise or sell a product in Canada, you must possess certifications, lab tests, compliance with the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, Consumer Packaging, and Labeling Act, and other regulations based on the type of product you want to import or manufacture.

In this article, I have provided detailed information about the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, also known as CCPSA, what it means for importers, and what is required if you want to import products to Canada.

What is Canada Consumer Product Safety Act?

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act was passed as a law by the government in 2010 and went into effect in 2011 to ensure the safety of Canadian consumers. With proposed changes to the Hazardous Products Act (HPA), it replaced the 40 years old HPA with new regulations and amendments.

According to the act, all consumer products in Canada must be regulated under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA). The law was proposed after the growing consumer complaints about the safety of consumer products in the country.

As the HPA was not amended for the last 40 years, it failed to provide safety and protection against many modern products and gadgets, especially toys. There was a need for a new act with a set of modern regulations and laws to ensure public safety.

Under the new act, manufacturers and importers are now required to obtain safety information in the form of mandatory checks, tests, and certifications (if required by the inspectors from Health Canada), to meet the requirements of Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA).

The CCPSA is designed to prohibit the importers and manufacturers from importing, manufacturing, selling, and even advertising consumer products that are in any way poses danger to safety and health of humans.

The new act along with also Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act prohibits importers and manufacturers to misrepresent a product, misguide or mislead consumers.

Health Canada is responsible to enforce the CCPSA regulations and amendments within the borders of Canada. The inspectors from Health Canada have an authority to inspect any product and ask seller, importer, or manufacturer to provide certificates or test results to ensure compliance with CCPSA. Continue reading Product Safety Standards & Labeling in Canada: A Complete Guide

UL Certification When Importing from China: A Complete Guide

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UL standards

UL (Underwriter Laboratories) develops electronics safety standards for the United States, and provide related testing, certification and auditing services.

Unlike the EU, where importers must comply with a set of harmonized electronics safety standards – American electronics importers are free to choose which standards to comply with.

UL standards are developed for specific electronic products, or components, such as cords, batteries and plugs.

Below follows a few examples:

  • UL 1642 – Standard for Lithium Batteries
  • UL 20 – General-Use Snap Switches
  • UL 2595 – General Requirements for Battery-Powered Appliances
  • UL 2089 – Standard for Vehicle Battery Adapters
  • UL 1740 – Standard for Robots and Robotic Equipment
  • UL 879A – Standard for LED Sign and Sign Retrofit Kits

You can buy UL standard catalogs directly from standardscatalog.ul.com. Each standard (more than one may apply to your product) costs from US$400 to 1000.

Assuming you, or your supplier, lack the technical skills to implement a standard in a real life product, you may also need to budget for consulting fees.

That, and much more, is covered in this comprehensive guide for complying with UL standards, when importing electronic products from China. Continue reading UL Certification When Importing from China: A Complete Guide

Product Regulations in the United States: A Beginner’s Guide

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

About to import products to the United States, or sell on Amazon.com? Then you must stay on top of the whole spectrum of mandatory safety standards, labeling, documentation and lab testing requirements.

It’s a heavy topic, but one you need to know inside out – or face the risk of having your goods seized by the US customs, getting your Amazon account shut down – or worse (yes, it can get a lot worse than that).

In this beginners guide to US safety standards and regulations, you will learn what every importer and ecommerce seller must know – including safety standards (both mandatory and non-mandatory), labeling requirements, document requirements and lab testing requirements.

Why product compliance is so complicated for US importers

In the European Union, there are mandatory directive and EN standards for hundreds of different products. Some complain that the EU is too heavy handed, and force unnecessary regulation on its member states.

There’s some truth to that, but what if there was no set of mandatory safety standards for most products? What if Importers had to make a complex regulatory assessment of their own (for which most are not qualified), rather than relying on a clear product compliance framework?

Enter the United States.

For many products, even electronics, there are no mandatory safety standards or directives. Instead, it’s up the Importer to make an assessment and apply ‘the necessary standards and procedures” to ensure that the imported products are safe.

Instead, product standards are developed by private organizations such as UL, ASTM and ANSI.

This is ideal, if you know how to make that assessment.

But if you’re just starting out, and don’t happen to have a team of lawyers and engineers by your side, it’s a lot more complicated. That, and much more, will be covered in this guide. Continue reading Product Regulations in the United States: A Beginner’s Guide