Import from China Tutorial 02: Product Regulation & Compliance

product regulation

Table of Contents

Introduction

Countries all over the world have different standards and regulation that must be complied with if you want to legally sell you products in their market. Some of these regulations are mandatory while others are voluntary. Therefore, it is necessary to figure out the product regulation and compliance of the target market.

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What Are Product Regulations?

Product regulations usually apply to a specific category of product, materials or group of consumers (e.g. children). Note that a certain product may have to comply with several regulations. Different Product regulations may contain different items, but in general, product regulations can be divided into the following parts:

Product Safety Requirements/Standards

Product standards are designed to ensure safety, compatibility and consistency of certain kind of product. Product standards can serve as a reference point to ensure compliance with relevant product regulations. Product standards usually contain the following aspects:

  • Electrical Safety (e.g. Low Voltage Directive of EU)
  • Physical/mechanical properties (e.g. sharp edges)
  • Testing standards
  • Quality standards
  • Flammability
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Product standards can be divided into Mandatory product standards and Voluntary product standards.

Mandatory Product Standards

Product regulations generally apply to a wide range of product categories, but some products require specific product standards for reference, which means that only specific standards can be applied to these products. Those specific standards are generally evaluated by the importers or manufacturers. In order to ensure full compliance, this type of product must comply the mandatory product standard from the design stage.

Voluntary Product Standards

Some product standards are not mandatory. These products just need to comply the product standards before being sold. But it is important to remember that importers and domestic manufacturers are always responsible for ensuring that their products are safe, whether or not compliance with specific product standards is mandatory. Therefore, we should try our best to ensure the safety of products to protect interests

Substance Restrictions

The import and sale of certain substances are prohibited when their content exceeds the prescribed level. Substance restrictions limit or bans the production, selling or usage of certain substances. These substances could be:

  • Chemicals
  • Heavy metals
  • Pollutants
Examples:

In order to sell your product in the European Union, you must comply with REACH, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals If you want to sell your product in California, your product must comply with CA Prop 65

Labeling Requirements

Some product regulations may have certain labeling requirements.A product and its packaging must be properly labeled before it could be legally sold in a country. Always assume that your supplier knows nothing about labels required in your market. Make sure you provide them with correct and ready-to-use label files.

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Example:

  • Compliance marks (e.g. CE mark, FCC mark)
  • Warning Labels (e.g. Fragile mark)
  • Country of origin (e.g. Made in China)
  • Traceability codes: Traceability codes enable manufacturers and trade partners as well as consumers and authorities to identify, authenticate and track goods throughout the entire supply chain.

Documentation

If you sell products without full set of required documents, you may face fine and force recall issued by local authorities.

Example:

  • Self-issued certificate (e.g. Declaration of Conformity required in EU)
  • Lab testing report: It is usually necessary when importing products
  • Pre-import permit: The certificate is not mandatory for most products exported or imported to developed countries such as the European Union and the United States.
  • User manuals
  • Technical documents

Lab Testing Requirements

Lab testing is not always a mandatory requirement. But in many cases, lab testing is the only method of compliance verification.

Mandatory case:

  • Products for children
  • Electronics
  • Machinery
  • Food contact materials

Tips for Lab Testing

  • Always ahoose accredited Lab testing companies: You must find a qualified testing company, otherwise their report may be invalid. Here are some testing companies:

QIMA · SGS · TUV · Intertek · Bureau Veritas · Eurofins

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  • The test report must be issued under your name: The test report is only valid in the name of the importer and for the relevant product, so you can only issue the test report under your own name. Even if the supplier already has the test report of the same product, it is invalid for you and cannot be used.
  • Never ask the suppliers to test for you: Your suppliers are not qualified for testing, and some suppliers may affect the impartiality of testing results. In addition, some countries only accept test reports from third-party testing companies.

Pre-import Approvals

Check with your government that if you need a permit to import product into your own country. For US citizens, you do not need special permits for common goods. The US government provided a short handbook: Importing and Exporting ” USAGov

Case Study

How to sell on Amazon?

Amazon is quite strict on the compliance of listed products. If you want to sell products on Amazon, you may need to provide the following information:

  • Relevant test resports
  • Certificates (e.g. Children’s Product Certificate)
  • Photos of the product
  • Photos of the packaging of the product
  • Third- party compliance assessment report
  • Supplier invoices

Further Information

Want to know more about common product compliance requirements? We have prepared compliance guides for you. Please feel free to contact us for the material.

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