Written by Bill Holz, International Approvals Technical and Operations Manager
While the primary markets for most American and European companies tend to be large, developed countries, secondary countries are also important as they may represent emerging markets or new sales territories. Manufacturers are often unfamiliar with or apprehensive of the regulatory requirements in secondary countries, and for a good reason: almost every country has unique requirements.
There are some generalizations in the requirements for certain regions that can help develop a road map for global radio/telecom and product safety compliance.
REPORT RECOGNITION: Generally speaking, secondary countries in the Western Hemisphere (Americas) other than Argentina, Brazil and Mexico (require in-country testing), accept the FCC reports while the remaining countries generally will accept European (R&TTE) reports. Of course there are several countries that will still require in-country testing in this grouping as well.
LEAD TIMES: Be prepared for a large variation in lead-times between secondary countries. Just like the larger more developed markets there is a large disparity in the staffing levels, and speed at which the agency operates.
RADIO SPECIFICATIONS: Always check in advance and find out if the radio frequency you want to use for your product is acceptable in a given country. Power limits can also differ between secondary countries, although many will align with FCC or European regulations.
PRODUCT SAFETY: The good news for non-wireless electronic and electrical exporters is the majority of secondary countries do not require product safety certifications for IT equipment. Those that do require safety certification will generally accept a CB report without further testing – just be sure your CB report covers all the countries and voltages you wish to export to.
DOCUMENTATION: In addition to test reports, a variety of documentation will be required, and will vary depending on the country and product application. Photographs block diagrams, circuit diagrams, etc., are required so you need to have them ready in advance (cuts down on delays). In addition, be prepared to have your manual translated into a local language.