by Renaud Anjoran
As an importer, you take responsibility for the safety of the products you sell in your market. In many countries, you hold the same liability as if you had manufactured the products yourself.
It means that, if you import sensitive products (children's toys, electrical appliances, chemicals…) into Europe/North America/Australia, you are running serious legal risks.
The very least you should do is ask suppliers for certifications that were issued by recognized laboratories and that confirm the products you are buying are in compliance with the regulations of the country(ies) where you sell them.
It indicates that samples were sent to a lab and that that lab confirmed their compliance.
So you can check if the product and its components are the same as the samples certified by the lab. Doing this visually (without any test) is especially easy for electrical products because of the CDF.
As far as I know, a production certification doesn’t “expire” as long as the manufacturer uses exactly the same components and the same processes. So, if you work with honest people, this document will reduce your risks significantly.
You should be aware of a few realities:
As I wrote before, European authorities will soon require test reports on every production batch, and will not accept certificates that don’t apply directly to each batch. Expect this to come into effect also in the US in a few years!
Overall, getting certifications and checking if the list of components is (or seems to be) the same is an important step. But do not think you are “covered” in case your products harm/kill people.
In the end, as the importer, you are responsible.