Historically, U.S. electrical product manufacturers of all sizes have experienced varying degrees of difficulty in meeting foreign testing and certification requirements. In countries such as Mexico, where these requirements are fluid, confusing, and cumbersome, it is particularly difficult and costly for U.S. manufacturers to gain market access.
NEMA has strived to be a source of information to help companies with issues such as this. For example, NEMA offers the Conformity Assessment Guide Online. This guide contains the most up to date information regarding country contacts and processes for certification and testing.
Although the online guide is a good roadmap for companies wishing to handle their own product testing and certification management, it has become quite evident through feedback from NEMA company members that a need exists for a consulting service to help companies manage the administrative burdens of gaining test certificates and importation certificates in markets where certification and testing requirements can be confusing and/or shifting (such as Mexico and China). Note: This need was identified through feedback from a survey sent to nearly 500 companies in February 2005.
As part of NEMA’s effort to better serve the industry, the association is considering implementing a consulting service that would provide the following core services for a fee:
Helping to determine applicable country specific or regional standard(s).
Obtaining application forms for product certification from certification bodies.
Identifying the appropriate and most cost-effective testing laboratory.
Submitting all requested samples and documentation to the appropriate laboratory (if specific certification is applicable arranging for random sampling by the verification unit or regional representative).
Submitting the completed test reports to applicable certification body(s) for the Certificate of Compliance.
Providing any necessary translation upon request.
Paying the designated organization(s) for all charges associated with the new work project.
Following up on the status of a project through to completion.
It is important to note that many country certificates have an associated expiration date. NEMA could request and maintain certificate renewals for products that manufacturers want to continue exporting. In addition, it appears a customized approach to helping electrical manufacturers navigate the complex testing and certification process is needed and NEMA will be evaluating ways to provide this service in the near future.
Please contact NEMA’s Gene Eckhart at (703) 841-3204 with questions or comments about this service.