Manage the risks of importing

Ensure imported goods meet your requirements

Guide

Any goods you import must comply with relevant UK regulations. You may also require an import licence before you can bring certain goods into the UK.

Find out if you need an export or import licence.

Product safety can be a problem, as products manufactured overseas may not meet UK standards. You should be aware that you might be liable for any harm or damage caused by a product you import. Read more about product liability.

Even if goods meet UK legal requirements, that does not necessarily mean that they suit your needs. For example, a component manufactured in the US using imperial measurements might not fit with the metric parts you normally use. The way a product looks or performs might not match UK customer demand.

Product testing when importing

You can reduce these risks by getting samples of products, and if necessary submitting them for testing. Testing can be important for products that must meet UK legal standards. You should be aware that some overseas suppliers may falsely claim to meet UK standards.

UK testing centres are accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Search for accredited testing laboratories.

Accreditation bodies are established in many countries with the primary purpose of ensuring that testing laboratories are subject to oversight by an authoritative body.

Accreditation bodies, which have been evaluated by peers as competent, sign arrangements that enhance the acceptance of products and services across national borders, thereby creating a framework to support international trade through the removal of technical barriers.

These arrangements are managed by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment, and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), in the field of laboratory and inspection accreditation.

Read more about laboratory and inspection accreditation.