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How to Prepare Your Product for Certifications Before You Export

When deciding to export your product to another country there are many things to consider. One of these things is potential product certifications in these countries that you may not have to have obtain here in the U.S. Knowing which certifications are required for exporting your product is vital in gaining approval to sell your product abroad.

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If you are exporting to countries within the European Union (EU), you’ll want to look into the European CE Marking Guidance. Once your product has the CE marking, it shows that the product has been or will be certified to meet EU health, safety and environmental requirements to ensure consumer safety. Once you’ve obtained this CE marking, only then will you be able to market your product throughout the EU. For more information on the program (and whether or not your product may require the CE marking), you can review the program overview.

If, on the other hand, you decide to export your product to China, you’ll need to work on obtaining the China Compulsory Certification (CCC Mark). This went into effect in 2002, replacing the certifications of the China Import and Export commodity Inspection Bureau and the China Commission for conformity Certification of Electrical Equipment. If it has been many years since you exported products to China and you are looking to do so again, be sure to familiarize yourself with the new certification process for the CCC Mark.

If you find that a specific country’s certifications, standards or trade barriers for your product are unfairly arduous or discriminatory, you can seek help from the U.S. Government to press for their removal. You can look into filing a complaint online with the Trade Compliance Center or you can also contact the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) at 202-395-3000.

Although you can certainly complete the steps for certification on your own, you may also find that you wish to work with a professional agency when you decide to certify your product in a foreign market. There are several from which to choose, so if you do decide to go with one to potentially simplify things for you, check around for the company or agency that will best suit your needs.

*Accessible Translation Solutions provides this information for informational purposes only and is not responsible for its use or perception by the reader. For more information on any of the product certifications mentioned, rely on your own research in order to make the most informed decision possible.

Global Business Etiquette for Your Brand

If your company is based in the United States, you are likely familiar with business etiquette here in North America. It would be normal for you to arrive on time (or better… early!) and shake someone’s hand when you greet them during a business meeting, for example, or to even invite fellow associates out for dinner to both discuss the agenda and socialize with your colleagues.

If you’ve never given thought to globalization and expanding your business to an international market, it is likely you might also not have considered how business etiquette may differ in other countries and how adapting to these differences could vastly impact your ability to perform well in a global market.

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Translating and/or localizing your product and services are a great first step to entering the global market. You can read more about the importance of localizing your product here. However, localization isn’t the only step in moving your business forward in a foreign culture. It’s probable that you will need to work directly with other business associates in the target country for a successful launch, so learning a little about proper business etiquette there can really go a long way. It is not necessary to learn each and every custom in every location where you plan to do business, but it will help if you have a basic understanding of how business etiquette works in each one.

If you are holding a business meeting in Mexico, for instance, it would not be uncommon for the meeting to begin a little late, and for your colleagues to engage in an embrace as a greeting, instead of a handshake, once a perceived friendship is established. Conversely, if you are conducting business in Germany, arriving late is considered rude and business meetings are very formal (always shake hands and greet someone as Herr [Mister] last name even when you know them well).

In China, it can be inappropriate to begin your meeting by discussing the deal you want to close directly. This may be considered rude, and you may come home without the deal you had hoped for. Instead, it is more appropriate to develop a relationship with your business partner and avoid interrupting him/her at all costs! When handing your business card to someone in China, or receiving one from a potential business partner, do so with both hands. This is considered a sign of respect.

Since there is no global standard of business etiquette, we recommend always researching the area you’re traveling to (or speaking with) to ensure you are abiding by that country’s customs and standards. This shows respect for your business associates abroad and makes a good impression for your products and services. Being prepared shows that you are dedicated to doing business in that area and will greatly improve your chance of success when launching your localized product or service.