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Foreign Standards & Certification for Exports and Imports

Foreign Standards & Certification for Exports and Imports

In this guide, you will find in-depth information on U.S. and Foreign Standards while importing or exporting into these countries. These are all rules and specifications for all World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries, as they are required.

Foreign Standards & Certifications for Exports

Under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement), member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required to report all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other member countries.

Agriculture-Specific Requirements & Certifications 

When exporting food and agricultural products and materials, there are a number of requirements and certifications both from the U.S. and the foreign country that you must report to the WTO. The Foreign Agricultural Service works to make sure that those regulations are predictable, transparent, and science-based. With its online system that tracks and informs WTO organizations about any regulatory changes, the FAS is an important tool in this process. 

The FAS provides regulatory lists like: 

  • Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) Database
  • Food Safety Group Information
  • Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) Report


To read this guideline,
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Governing Agencies of Agricultural Exports and Imports

  • The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)- regulates both the import and export of animals or plants. 
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)- provides guidance on exporting and importing meat and poultry (includes packaging, labeling, and other special conditions) 
  • Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)- governs the export of grains, oilseeds, and any related products. 
  • State Department of Agriculture- issues export certification documents (Certificates of Free Sale)


European CE Markings 

The CE Marking (Conformite Europenne) is a certification and proof that a product has met European Union health, safety, and environmental requirements. All of these are meant to assure consumer and environmental safety. Manufacturers in the EU, along with importers of goods into the EU, must comply with CE Marking categories and markings, whenever applicable, in order to be able to market and sell their products in Europe. A manufacturing business entity that has gone through the conformity assessment process, can affix the CE marking to the product. With the presence of a CE marking, the product is allowed to be marketed and sold in the European Union. There are 27 countries that the CE marking provides more access to.


Countries that require CE Markings are: 

Austria - Hungary- Poland

Belgium- Iceland- Portugal

Bulgaria- Ireland- Romania

Croatia- Italy-Slovakia

Cyprus- Latvia- Slovenia

Czech Republic- Liechtenstein- Spain


Estonia- Luxembourg-Switzerland

Finland- Malta - Turkey 

France- Netherlands- United Kingdom

Germany- Greece- Norway 

China Compulsory Certification (CCC Mark)

The CCC Mark is a compulsory safety mark for many imported products imported, sold, or used in the Chinese Market. As part of its conformity assessment system that is required for the importation and sale of goods in China, the China National Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) uses the CCC Mark as a means of protection of national security, human health or safety, animal and plant life or health, and environment and prevention of deceptive practices. 

Product types that require CCC Markings

  • Electrical Wires & Cables
  • Switches, Circuits, Installations
  • Connection Devices
  • Low-Voltage Electrical Apparatus
  • Small Power Motors
  • Electric Tools
  • Electrical Appliances
  • Audio & Video Equipment
  • IT Equipment
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Fire Fighting Machinery/Products
  • Medical Devices
  • Safety Glass
  • Latex Products
  • Alarm Detectors


ISO Standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international organization, known to be a standard-setter among trade organizations worldwide. The organization is composed of representatives from various national government standards organizations. 

Some of ISO’s popular standards: 

  • Testing and Calibration Laboratories
  • Medical Devices
  • Language Codes
  • Currency Codes
  • Risk/Emergency Management
  • Country Codes
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Anti-Bribery Management Systems
  • Information Security Management


Packaging and Recycling Laws

In recent years, many countries have passed packaging and recycling laws that directly affect U.S. exporters. Here is a couple of them: 

  • China’s “National Sword” Policy
  • The United Kingdom- Banning Plastic Waste Exports

To find out if your packaging materials are compliant with your importer’s domestic regulations,  you can visit export.gov and check out the “Labeling and Marketing Section.”