Verbal assurances of imported products' safety are no longer enough. As of Nov. 12, 2008, more companies than ever have had to prove it. On that date, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) increased the number of products that require safety testing and written certifications of compliance with safety regulations and standards. Many kinds of consumer goods—from toys to fabrics to bottles with child-resistant caps—are affected.
Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, manufacturers, private labelers, and importers must issue compliance certificates for all merchandise that is subject to product safety rules and standards enforced by the CPSC. The certificates—one for each individual product—must accompany import shipments, and importers must provide them to each retailer and/or distributor of the product.
U.S. importers can issue certificates based on the original manufacturer's safety tests, but there's a catch: Test records must be in English. Beginning in late December, importers also must provide records from third-party tests for all children's products. The CPSC is making sure that everyone knows the score. The agency has posted full details of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and concurrent changes to a number of other productsafety laws on its Web site, www.cpsc.gov. The site also includes answers to frequently asked questions about the new requirements, instructions and sample certificates, and the full text of the law.
The stakes for noncompliance are high: Shipments without certificates or with false documents may be refused entry or seized and destroyed.