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resolving manufacturers greatest challenge: getting products certified and approved globally

"As compliance requirements are dependent on specific markets involved, separate sets of approval for each market must be obtained by manufacturers."

Monday, March 23, 2020


With growing market liberalisation and efforts investing in international trade cooperation, goods, services, people, capital and ideas are being exchanged between countries at a rapid pace. Leveraging on such opportunities will inevitably enable one to benefit from an increased global presence, greater market shares and potentially, higher profits. 

Despite reduced trade barriers in today’s context, businesses seeking to bring electrical or electronic products to global markets still face the hurdle of “technical trade barriers”, otherwise known as product testing and certification requirements implemented by individual governments. As compliance requirements are dependent on specific markets involved, separate sets of approval for each market must be obtained by manufacturers. In certain countries, compliance requirements are also constantly being updated and expanded upon, making it difficult to frequently keep track of changes.

In the event of a rejection, non-compliant products have to be redesigned or re-engineered, leading to operational delays and revenue loss. Manufacturers may also face potential legal consequences if custom officials in the target market impound or deny access to such products.

Holistically, this results in a time-consuming, costly and complicated process, particularly so if handled incompetently.


Uncovering Global Market Acces

This is where Global Market Access (GMA) comes into play. It serves as a systematic process of managing compliance with regulations for manufacturers to gain access to global markets, essentially reducing costs and time required for marketing products. For example, with consistent updates of changes within the global regulatory landscape by a GMA partner, manufacturers will be better prepared for potential issues that may affect their business operations.


Common Issues Faced in the Certification Process

The following are 5 main issues that manufacturers may face in the attempt to obtain product testing and certification approvals from target markets. 

1. Varying Requirements for Critical Component Certificates

Every country has different requirements for critical components, wherein some may request for independent component certificates during the certification of a host product, as the different components of a product may have different requirements. 

For example, in Korea, all electrical apparatus subject to legally compulsory certification are required to affix the KC Mark Certification, even after getting third-party certifications. In countries outside of Korea, the same components may only require standardised third-party certifications. 


2. Difficulty in Identifying the stakeholders applicant

Businesses may be confused as to who the applicant should be in the certification process. Depending on each country’s own requirements with regards to applicants and certificate holders, details in the certification process may differ.

To cite an example, depending on the certification scheme involved, an applicant can be the importer, such as in the case of the SALEEM Scheme in Saudi Arabia, where a local representative is required to submit the application via the SABER system, or the manufacturer, such as in the case of the KC Mark Certification in South Korea, where a local manufacturer has to submit the application, and undergo factory inspections and product testings. 

Businesses need to be cautious when listing the applicant on the CB test report as problems will arise when country certificates are issued incorrectly based on the information stated in that document. Different stakeholders may play different roles in the compliance process and, even so, in the ever changing regulatory landscape.

3. Inaccurate Artwork Labelling

In this case, artwork refers to product packaging and user manuals. Each country has specific labelling or marking requirements to be placed on the artwork. In the event of inaccurate or insufficient artwork labelling, businesses may face issues during customs clearance or market surveillance. 

For example, in China, a CMIIT ID — unique authorisation number assigned by the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, must be shown on labels or artwork for wireless electronic products before market clearance is approved. 

4. Preparing a Shipment Document for Customs Checks

The regulatory body of some countries is linked to their customs clearance database. In addition to the product, a certificate or shipment inspection document is required during a customs check. Some countries may also require a HS code, or Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System to be displayed on the certification or shipment inspection document. 

Giving an example, in Russia, depending on the product, an additional RF import permit (RFC) — customs license when importing goods into the Customs Union territory of the Eurasian Economic Union, must be obtained from the State Commission for Radio Frequencies or Ministry of Trade and Industry.

5. Market Surveillance Issues

Each country has its own set of market surveillance rules that result in product recall and penalties if unabided. In cases where any non-conformity to the rules is found in the local market, overseas manufacturers of the product in question may also risk losing future orders as well.

Countries like South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and more, all conduct market surveillance to examine certified products, and to guarantee that they meet certification standards.


TÜV SÜD: Your Partner for Global Market Access

To bypass the issues abovementioned, TÜV SÜD offers a comprehensive range of GMA services to assist businesses in the product testing and certification process. These include:

  • Tailored Solutions

TÜV SÜD provides experts that understand each manufacturer’s unique approval requirements to advise on specific countries’ compliance requirements and approval strategies, thus saving precious time and resources in the process of introducing products to global markets. 

  • Interface with Regulators

When needed, TÜV SÜD offers access to local representation for clients lacking a presence in their target market countries by serving as an interface between them, government organisations and certification bodies. Applications will be prepared on the client’s behalf, and post-submission follow-ups will be performed by TÜV SÜD with the relevant authorities and certification bodies.

  • Product Testing

In accordance with required test standards, TÜV SÜD performs testing for a single product or a family of products. Test data will be reviewed to ensure compliance, and necessary design changes will be communicated to clients. 

  • Certification

TÜV SÜD is accredited by country authorities as a certification body or a notified body. As a certification or notified body, we have specific product scope and continue to expand our scope to ensure better reach for customers.

  • Global Knowledge Bank

With a network of offices worldwide, TÜV SÜD guarantees a unique level of competence in individual country requirements. We serve as a regulation database for different products and countries, and are well-versed and well-abreast in various national requirements, policies and technical regulations. 

As a globally renowned solutions provider, TÜV SÜD has crafted strong relationships with regulators and national certification bodies in key markets around the world. As such, we are able to confidently act as an international regulatory approval department for businesses around the globe.

To take the guesswork out of GMA, access our E-Book for the latest updated country guidelines and information. In the event of doubt on whether you require the assistance of a professional GMA partner, try out this quiz to test your knowledge on GMA requirements and determine your next steps. 

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