Do Foreign Standards Affect My Company?

“The international language of commerce is standards. Adherence to agreed upon product or service specifications underpin international commerce, enabling trillions of dollars of goods to flow across borders, regardless of the spoken language of the business party. The common acceptance of standards is fundamental to the success of robust, fair, and free trade. Without standards, it would be difficult to imagine the tremendous volume and complexity of today’s global trade.”

Standards Can Affect Your Ability to Export

Standards can either make or break a company seeking to export. U.S. companies trying to sell their products in foreign markets often face the challenge of differing standards, testing, and conformity assessment procedures than they are used to in the United States. Redundant or additional testing requirements may delay a product’s entry into a market or increase the product’s cost so that it is non-competitive. At worst, differing standards can keep products entirely out of a particular foreign market.

In order to steer your company clear of all the potential trouble areas, it is necessary to keep track of standardization updates that may directly or indirectly affect the foreign market/s you will be working with. (Remember: Just because your company is in compliance with U.S. standards does not mean your company is automatically in compliance with all global standards.)

Click on the links below to view information regarding the following regions:

Why International Standards?

In the past, differing national standards made international trade difficult. For this reason, it became necessary to create international standard organizations to ensure the quality of goods and services traded.

Within the last several decades, countries have begun using standards as a way to control their trade balance. Originally, tariffs were the primary means used to limit imports into a given country, but because this practice has been viewed as a hindrance to diplomatic relations, countries have resorted to creating new standards as a more acceptable way to control trade and stay competitive in the international market.

The following links provide a comprehensive overview of standard information that may prove helpful in your exporting endeavors:

Notify U.S.

"Notify U.S." is a free web information service that offers U.S. citizens, industries, and organizations the opportunity to be informed, and to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that could affect their products, businesses, and access to international markets.

To access Notify U.S., please visit:

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