Challenges in international certifications for the EAEU market

EAEU participating states: Russian Federation, Belarusian Federation, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia

Many manufacturers in Europe (EU) want to sell their products in the economic area of the EAEU because the technical hurdles of marketing in the participating states of the EAEU are low.

This point of view is correct in principle, because a product which meets the technical requirements for marketing in the EU can actually also be on the market in the EU EAEU operate.

However, it is not quite as simple as it sounds at first.

Why is that?

As is so often the case, it is the little things that complicate the expansion of the sales market, which otherwise appears so simple.

First of all, you have to realize that, unlike in the EU, there is a so-called certification requirement for a large number of products. The aim of the certification requirement is to enable the unhindered movement of goods within the EAEU without having to have an individual approval in each country of the EAEU. The EAEU thus follows the approach that is also available in the EU, only with the difference between the testing and certification requirements.

In order for this to work, a number of technical regulations have been published in the EAEU. The most important for the electrotechnical industry (device production) are listed here:

  • TR CU 004/2011 – Technical rule for low-voltage devices
  • TR CU 010/2011 – Technical rule machine directive
  • TR CU 012/2013 – Technical rule for explosion protection
  • TR CU 019/2011 – Technical rule regarding personal protective equipment
  • TR CU 020/2011 – Technical rule EMC
  • TR CU 032/2013 – Technical rule pressure equipment
  • TR CU 037/2016 – Technical rule RoHs

The majority of electrical products that can be exported to the EAEU are covered by these technical rules.

These technical rules listed above partly cover quite different products or product groups, so you have to know exactly which device falls under which directive.

It is also sometimes necessary to differentiate whether it is a commercial product or a consumer product.

A typical case of this is a simple coffee machine. As a commercial product (e.g. for hotels and restaurants) this falls under the TR CU 010/2011 while as a consumer product (for the end user) the TR CU 004/2011 is applicable.

It is important that products that fall under several TRs must meet all requirements from the various TRs.

Under certain conditions, a joint certificate can be created for each of the TRs, but individual certificates are also permitted for each TR.

There is information that allows you to determine whether a product is subject to mandatory certification or not. This information is usually based on the so-called HS codes, i.e. customs tariff numbers.

What should be noted here is that the Russian customs tariff numbers are supplemented by additional digits. The Russian customs tariff numbers are 10 digits instead of the 8 digits in the EU. Also, only the first 6 digits of the Russian customs tariff number are harmonized with those of the EU. Other classifications may also be derived from this.

For products that are subject to EAC certification, a regular so-called production facility inspection is also required. This follows the ones in that OD CIG 021 established procedures and will be included in the relevant inspection report CIG 023 held. In some cases, certification organizations accept inspection reports issued by other inspection bodies accredited for this purpose (according to ISO 17020) instead of carrying out an inspection with their own staff.

Due to the current corona pandemic, so-called “remote inspections” are now largely accepted. However, there is no enforceable claim to the execution of the production facility inspection as “remote inspection”

What doesn’t make it any easier is the fact that, in addition to the EAC certification, there is also the option of a so-called “declaration” for certain products. This is largely comparable to a manufacturer self-declaration, but registration in a database is required.

Since January 1st, 2021, the testing and certification organizations accredited in the EAEU are no longer permitted to carry out this registration for their customers.

What all types of approvals or registrations have in common:

  • Labels and instructions for use must be in Russian, it is not sufficient to provide them in English.
  • The EAC mark must also be affixed to the product, only in the instructions for use or on the packaging is not sufficient.
  • There must be a so-called local representative (this has to perform tasks comparable to those of a manufacturer in Europe), to whom the certificate will ultimately be issued. The European manufacturer may have to conclude appropriate contracts with the local representative. Ultimately, it is about an organization that can be held liable in the event of damage within the EAEU in order to avoid international legal disputes in such a case.
  • Mains cables and mains plugs themselves require an EAC certificate, especially in the case of detachable mains cables as they are very often used today in products that are to be marketed internationally.

The certification as well as the registration can be applied for or created for a series production as well as for a single delivery.

In the first case (certification) the validity is limited to a maximum of 5 years, in the other case it is only valid for this one delivery.

With regard to the costs, one must see that the certificate is associated with follow-up costs (for factory inspections) for annual factory inspections in the production facilities.

For products that are not covered by one of the Technical Regulations (TRs), certification may still be required in accordance with the regulations applicable in the target countries. However, this is initially only valid for a specific country (e.g. in the Russian Federation).

Medical devices are currently subject to a special certification procedure which takes a long time, especially in the Russian Federation.

It is also important that products with built-in radio technology cannot (yet) be certified for the entire EAEU via technical regulations. This means that a device that contains radio components may have to be individually approved in each of the EAEU states, although it already bears an EAC mark for the remaining requirements. Corresponding conformity marks for the radio product must, where required, be attached in addition to the EAC mark.

Author: Heiko Sattler
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