Importing from China? Don’t neglect the certification requirements.

Frederik Grondvist

China has lowered the bar for companies to do business on an international scale. While neglected by many importers, product certification compliance is not to be taken for granted when importing products from China. In this article I’ll explain why this is the case, and what you can do to improve your odds.

First, let me tell you something about myself. I’m a Swedish entrepreneur that’s been based in Shanghai, China, since 2009. I’ve managed hundreds of orders for European companies importing from China. Import business is always challenging, but certification compliance is one of the hardest nuts to crack. My hope is that this article will contribute to the general awareness among business owners. If I can make at least one European or American business owner think twice before importing non-compliant products, I’ve succeeded.

CE Marking Wire and Cable – Necessity or Luxury?

wire

When I set out to investigate this question, I would not have guessed that it would turn out to be as much of an odyssey as it did. For most products, determining the need for a CE Mark is relatively straightforward, but not for wire and cable products! As equipment designers, engineers and technologists, we rarely think much about wire and cable. We’re mostly concerned with the insulation colours, number of conductors, the gauge and the voltage rating. Sometimes we’re also concerned about the temperature rating, the flexibility, or perhaps the shielding. The regulatory approvals carried by the wire are often assumed, or not considered at all. This common product can bring a world of headaches if the requirements are not fully considered.

Understanding European Declarations of Conformity or Incorporation

Certificate of Conformity

In order to understand the various types of EU Declarations, it’s important to first understand a bit about the system that uses them. Two systems of product safety evaluation are currently in wide use globally: Certification, and Marking. Understanding the differences between these two systems is important for anyone who gets involved with regulatory compliance activities. It’s also important to know that these Declarations have no relationship to the compliance declarations often used in commercial supply chains. Supply chain declarations are simply used to ensure that vendors attest to the fact that they supplied what the customer ordered. This type of document has no relationship to the EU Declarations discussed article.

Affixing CE Marking

CE Mark
Affixing the CE Mark

After complying with the EU legislation, it is time to affix the CE marking. Where and how should the CE marking be placed? What are the requirements and who is responsible for affixing the marking? In which cases should you specify the identification number of the Notified Body that was involved in the conformity assessment procedure? Let’s take a look at the requirements of affixing the CE marking.