There are many myths on the Internet and one of them is the false China Export label, a hoax recognised even by the European Commission, but which has gained prominence in recent years, possibly due to the increase in imports.
Urban legend has it that some products manufactured in China carry a false CE label, imitating the European Conformity mark, but with slightly different dimensions and typography. It was reported that this label corresponded to the initials of China Export, a stamp intended to indicate the origin of manufacture and, at the same time, to confuse with the CE marking.
The reality, however, is different. The CE marking on products manufactured in China actually corresponds to the European CE marking required on some products. The visual differences between one label and another are due to simple printing errors, which sometimes produce millimetric variations in the typography or even in the distance between one letter and another.
In addition, it is important to bear in mind that there are no established measurements for the European CE marking (the regulation only states that this logo must have a minimum height of 5 mm), which makes these visual differences even more understandable.
When is the European CE marking mandatory for my imported products?
The European CE marking is a guarantee of quality. It means that the product we are importing complies with the safety, health and environmental protection requirements of the European Union. This label indicates that the manufacturer has assessed the product – always on his/her own responsibility – and ensures that it meets the requirements necessary for it to be sold within the EU.
CE marking is only mandatory for certain types of products for which EU specifications exist and for which the affixing of the CE marking is required. The list is quite extensive, and some of these products even have certain exceptions; full information can be found in the Blue Guide on the application of EU product legislation.
- Construction products
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Sanitary Products
- Explosives for civilian use
- Active implantable medical devices
- Recreational crafts
- Pressure equipment
- In vitro diagnostic medical devices
- Radio and communication terminal equipment
- Cableway installations for people transportation
- Measuring instruments
- Electrical and Electronic Devices
- Low voltage products
- Pyrotechnic articles
- Weighing instruments
- Simple pressure containers
- Gas appliances
The CE marking must be visible, legible and not confusing on all products that must bear the CE marking. It must have been affixed to the product before it enters the target market and, where a certain body has been involved in production control, the CE symbol must be followed by the identification number of this body.
Import quality controls; the key to quality control.
Beyond labels, experience shows that when importing from China, or any other Asian country, quality controls are essential to avoid any surprises.
The European CE marking only indicates (but is not proof) that the manufacturer claims to have passed the required quality controls, and in many cases, this is the case… but not always. That is precisely why it is so important to carry out independent quality checks.
It is, therefore, prudent to carry out voluntary inspections of the products we have ordered to be manufactured. These controls are an excellent way to complement and ensure the correct functioning of mandatory inspections.
Inspections by the client help to ensure that the product is being manufactured as intended. Similarly, they allow us to check quality details and ensure that the products comply with the quality standards of the country of final destination and that they can be marketed without problems in accordance with the CE marking (if the product needs it) or the national regulations.
At S3 Group we have more than 15 years experience as a sourcing partner specialising in products manufactured in Asia. Our work encompasses many services, but our goal is always the same. That is to ensure that importing is successful and, of course, this means that the products purchased are of the desired quality, regardless of their brands or labels.