Knowing These Certificates Could Save You a TON OF MONEY!!

Certificates!!! Ahhhhhh what do I need?


This can be one of the most annoying, troublesome parts of importing in my opinion. What certificates do you need to import what product in what country? Ugghhh I am already annoying and I just started writing about this. I have been through the ringer with this stuff and hope to shed some light on it for you now.

First, please understand that you could write a book on this subject, so I will definitely not answer every question in this post, but if you have more specific questions you can ask someone here. There are a lot of great lawyers on there that will be more than happy to help you out.

Also you can check out our site  we have a  list  of many of the certificates that are common for importing (link to certificates page) into various countries.

So lets get to it:



CE this is  a certificate required by countries in the  EU fort he following products::

  • Active implantable medical devices
  • Appliances burning gaseous fuels
  • Cableway installations designed to carry persons
  • Eco-design of energy related products
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Equipment and protective systems intended for use potentially explosive atmospheres
  • Explosives for civil uses
  • Hot-water boilers
  • In vitro diagnostic medical devices
  • Lifts
  • Low voltage
  • Machinery
  • Measuring Instruments
  • Medical devices
  • Noise emission in the environment
  • Non-automatic weighing instruments
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Pressure equipment
  • Pyrotechnics
  • Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment
  • Recreational craft
  • Safety of toys
  • Simple pressure vessels

Some things you should know about CE.

1.     Some products can be self certified and some products cannot, if a product is self certified there is really no way of guaranteeing it complies with the CE standards unless you take it to a laboratory (insert ACC lab link here) and have it tested for yourself. There are many different directives (fancy word for rules) and you can read about them here if you are A. Really bored B. Are a Lawyer

2.     Once your product enters the EU, by EU law YOU ARE responsible for what happens, ie: if your power sockets burn down a sex shop in Germany you are going to be responsible for the damage and the angry Germans.

3.     To verify the CE certificate you can do one of a few things::

a.   Have it independently tested

b.   Check out the DOC (declaration of conformity) The manufacturer must include this, it should have the following info Manufacturers details, 4 digit number notified body, the products characteristics and a signature of and authorised person from the factory.

c.  Get in contact with EU trade commission here

Last, but NOT least:

4.     The Chinese can be a shifty lot, they have created a VERY similar marking to place on products being exported out of China, a China Export marking, which as you can imagine goes on almost every product produced in China. You can compare below:


Sucks right? Welcome to China. J

Really the best thing you can do is use a good factory and if you are importing a lot of something spend the extra money and have an EMC approved laboratory test your product

RoHS or  Restrictions of Hazardous Substances Directive

Rohs more or less restricts the use of the following six substances

1.     Lead

2.     Mercury

3.     Cadmium (huh?)

4.     Hexavalent Chromium (say whaaa??)

5.     Polybrominated Biphenyls (Ok I give up completely)

6.     Polybrominated Diphenyl Ehter (Whatever the eff that is)


Really though #4 HC is used in chrome plating and primers and #5/6 PB and PBDE are flame retardants.

Ok so to make things more interesting as the governments love RoHS is also closely linked with WEEE (I swear I am not making this stuff up) WEEE is he Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and it applies to the following products.

1.     Large household appliances.

2.     Small household appliances.

3.     IT & Telecommunications equipment (although infrastructure equipment is exempt in some countries)

4.     Consumer equipment.

5.     Lighting equipment—including light bulbs.

6.     Electronic and electrical tools.

7.     Toys, leisure, and sports equipment.

8.     Medical devices (exemption removed in July 2011)

9.     Monitoring and control instruments (exemption removed in July 2011)

10. Automatic dispensers.

11. Semiconductor devices


Ok if you are still following me raise you hand….. No one?? Perfect. Let’s keep going.

Soooo in a nutshell RoHS is basically the EU’s way of trying to limit the amount of hazardous material that they have to dispose of in their country. Makes sense.

You can verify most Chinese RoHS certificates here

United States


Unfortunately all of these certifications are run by governments and governments seem to get a kick out of being a huge pain in the ass, especially for importers and exporters. So I will try to help the best I can. The FCC cert. means that the product complies with the Federal Communications Commissions directives (rules). Again check our laboratory list this can help you get your stuff test. Or If the US government ever reopens you can also check out or even call them, however they are currently on vacation because congress cannot agree on anything… thanks Obama.

CPSIA or Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

This was engineered by the legendary George W., so if you do not understand it whatsoever don’t be discouraged almost nobody does and that is, I suppose, part of genius of this bill, which was engineered in response to children’s toys that were being imported from China with lead in them. Ok, I agree good thing to try and stop, unfortunately  good ole G.W. also put a TON of business’s out of business with this act, because, shockingly, he did not really think through the implications of implementing and enforcing such a bill, I know I know good ole GW not being forward thinking.. hard to believe


The purpose of this Certification in a nutshell is to protect children’s toys from having lead in them.

Again if you are importing children’s products you can go to the laboratory page and find a list of laboratories.

Hope you enjoyed.

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