CE marking in EU – a complete guide

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European requirements about the certification that the particular goods need to have are very restrictive. For some products, the CE marking is necessary in order to approve it for marketing. In the following article, we are going to explain all of the most important issues connected with this mark.

What is the CE marking?

The CE (from French) stands for Conformité Européenne, in English – European Conformity. Briefly speaking, the CE marking is a declaration of a producer or defined representative that the particular product complies with the directive. The aforementioned act was created by the European Union. They are aimed at eliminating dangers connected with exploitation of certain products by purchasers (products need to be safe for the user’s health). In addition, such directives define that products introduced to the European market do not cause any harm to natural environment. The main goal of creating this mark was to fulfil the premises of the European Union connected with the free movement of goods between the EU member countries. The marking was introduced in order to normalize the procedures in all member countries, repealing the separate safety regulations that had been in force before. It makes trading easier to the entrepreneurs in all countries of the European Union, i.e. the entrepreneur needs to have the CE certificate for the particular products and is able to trade them all over the EU, they do not need to fulfil separate legal regulations in every member country.

How can the producer obtain the CE marking for their products?

In order to obtain this marking, the producer needs to conduct analyses. Goods must be checked in terms of all requirements that are specified in the directives. Some products that are not technologically advanced may be analysed by the producer. If it comes to more technologically advanced products, the compliance evaluation needs to be conducted by the third party, i.e. by some appropriate organization which is engaged in this field. The producer can choose the organization that is to conduct the compliance evaluation. It is not necessary to choose the entity from the producer’s country. The only condition is that it has to be an organization which works in one of the EU member countries. In addition, in order to obtain the CE marking, the producer has to prepare technical documentation of the product, as well as to sign compliance declaration. In case of importers, they need to obtain a confirmation of the producer that the imported product was subject to the compliance evaluation and it has obtained the CE certificate.

How should the CE marking be placed on the product?

According to the legal regulations, the mark placed on the product needs to be at least 5 mm in size. It may be impossible to place the marking on some products due to their small size. In such cases, the marking should be placed on the package or on the documents.

What products are required to obtain the CE marking?

The discussed is required for the following groups of products:

  1. Medical products (including all medical devices, active implantable medical devices, in vitro diagnostic devices).
  2. Measuring instruments.
  3. Pyrotechnics (including explosives for civil uses).
  4. Machinery, including hoists.
  5. Household products – chillers and freezers.
  6. Toys.
  7. Recreational craft.
  8. Appliances burning gaseous fuels.
  9. Cableway installations designed to carry persons.
  10. Pressure equipment.
  11. Noise emission in the environment products.
  12. Radio and telecommunication terminal equipment.
  13. Low-voltage equipment.
  14. Non-automatic weighing instruments.
  15. How-water boilers.
  16. Eco-design of energy related products.
  17. Electromagnetic compatibility devices.
  18. Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmosphere.
  19. Personal protective equipment.

What countries require the CE marking?

The mark for the groups of products enlisted above is obligatory in the EU member countries, in Lichtenstein, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey.

What are the consequences of not having the CE marking?

The authorities in aforementioned countries and the European Commission control the correctness of the marking. For example, if a purchaser claims that the marking is fake or the product is dangerous in use, the purchaser can make a complaint to the institutions that supervise merchandise traffic in the country where the product was bought. There is no strictly determined legal penalty for not having the discussed mark. It varies, depending on the country. It is often a fine, but in some serious situations, when the product turns out to be dangerous in use, the producer may be convicted to imprisonment.

It often happens that the authorities give the company a chance to obtain the CE certificate when they discover lack of this certificate, but the provided product must be safe in use.

How do Chinese producers falsify the CE marking?

A lot of Chinese suppliers ignore the certifications and send their goods to Europe anyway. They put the ‘China Export’ mark on the products, because it looks very similar to the CE sign. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t know about this difference. As we can see in the picture below, there is only a minimal difference in space between the letters. Such products do not fulfil the EU requirements, so we need to be especially careful.

Differences between CE mark and China export mark


While importing products to Europe, a lot of criteria needs to be fulfilled in order not to get into trouble. One of them is obtaining the CE marking. However, this is not the only norm we have to pay attention to while purchasing some products. Other norms will be described in further articles.

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Our blog contains articles about trade with China. Publications available on this blog allow you to find very important information and practical tips about import from China. We add new articles every Wednesday.

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