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Get your goods into the destination country:Understanding local market regulations for products

What you’ll learn

  • what local market regulations for products are
  • the common types of regulations you may face
  • the impact of local market regulations on your ability to export

What are local market regulations?

Local market regulations for your products are any legislation set by governments, industry or regulatory bodies which control how your goods can be traded in a market.

Product labelling regulations

Your chosen market may have different labelling regulations for your product.

For example, if your product is labelled ‘organic’ in the UK, you may not be able to label it as that, or its equivalent, in your export market.

If you’re unsure of the requirements for your product, you can check with others in your supply chain, such as distributors and freight forwarders. We also cover this in more detail in our lesson on how to adapt your labelling and packaging.

Product safety regulations

These regulations are designed to make sure your product is safe enough to be traded in a particular country, and they can differ across markets.

For example, if you’re exporting doors there might be different fire regulations on how resistant the locks are at a range of temperatures.

Similarly, if you sell computers to an EU country you will need to demonstrate your product meets an EU standard for information technology equipment.

To find out more, check the websites of the official regulatory bodies of each country – which are the equivalent of the BSI in the UK.

Environmental and health regulations

There are a wide range of environmental and health regulations which may impact the export of your product. And this can extend to any country your product passes through.

For example, even if you’re not exporting to a country with different regulation for waste or hazardous material you still need to comply with the regulations in any countries your product passes through during shipment.

Regulations for food standards

Regulations for the import of food products into different countries can vary greatly depending on the region and type of product.

For example, if you sell meat there could be both regulations on how your livestock was farmed, as well as different standards on how you transport products with animal origin.

You may also need certificates of origin for other food products. Regulation on this is known as rules of origin. For example, if you sold Wensleydale cheese to an EU country you might assume the origin was Yorkshire in the UK. But if the cheese contains apricots you would need to state the origin of those too. You can read more about rules of origin on GOV.UK.

Different requirements for liability insurance

The amount of liability insurance needed to export your product into different markets can have a big impact on your potential profitability.

For example, in the USA the minimum liability insurance for your products could cost £5,000 to cover sales to the value of £1,000,000. But if your sales are only £20,000, you will be using a significant amount of your potential profits.

Assess the impact of local market regulations

It can take a lot of time and resources to fully understand the regulations you may face in different markets, and to achieve the appropriate accreditation necessary for trade.

You can carry out basic internet research, using the websites of the appropriate regulatory bodies and tools like the UK government’s Check international trade barriers service.

Your local Department for Business and Trade team of advisers can put you in touch with regulatory experts in the country. They can also advise on any potential grants or schemes available to help with your research.

There are a lot of market regulations to consider but 99 times out of 100 they’re not deal breakers. Just make sure you do your research and due diligence.

International trade adviser

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