Too many buyers find a supplier, place an order, then think about compliance. That is very dangerous. So I’m glad you are asking up front.
Here are some suggestions.
- During your supplier selection phase (related video: Evaluating Suppliers) you should focus on supplier who have experience exporting this product to the USA.
- But, even if they have experience in your market, the regulations change and should your product not comply, it will be you (the importer of record) that gets in trouble, not the supplier on the far side of the world. So you should be asking two key questions:
a) What are the regulations for this product?
b) How to confirm your goods comply to those regulations.
Most people would start their search by contacting the relevant department of their national government. Unfortunately, answers do not always come back in a timely or clear manner. I go direct to the international testing labs to get my information. You need to get your product tested to ensure conformance anyway, so it can’t hurt to have a good relationship with a lab. It is their job to stay up to date on the standards because if they don’t know the standard, they wouldn’t be able to test for compliance. Fees depend on the type of testing you require and are reasonable in my experience. Some small buyers don’t bother to test, audit and inspect because their orders are too small. But since those items are essential, I would advise that if you are too small to do it right (meaning safe from a quality and financial risk point of view) then you would be better off not buying from China.
Let me know if you would like an introduction to some of the labs I use on a regular basis. Happy to make some introductions.
Question answered by Mike Bellamy, host of “Ask the Experts” at the China Sourcing Information Center.
Mike Bellamy is an Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center (www.ChinaSourcingInfo.org). He is also the author of, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” (chinasourcinginfo.org/book) and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions (www.PSSchina.com )