International trade regulations in the Electronics sector

Environmental and safety regulations applicable to electronic imports

If you import electronic equipment, or use hazardous chemicals or metals in the production of goods, you must comply with certain legislation. You also need to be aware of consumer safety regulations.

Environmental regulations

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations mean that manufacturers, sellers and distributors are responsible for taking back and recycling unwanted electrical and electronic equipment. Products covered under the regulations include:

  • household appliances
  • telecommunications equipment
  • audiovisual and lighting equipment
  • electrical and electronic tools
  • medical devices

Read more about waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Under Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) legislation, importers or manufacturers of more than one tonne of chemicals a year must register with the European Chemicals Agency. Read more about REACH legislation.

If you use hazardous metals or chemicals in the production of goods, you must comply with the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (RoHS). This means that any products imported into the European Union must not contain more than the permitted levels of a range of substances. Read more about the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS).

Consumer safety regulations

Goods imported into the UK must comply with domestic safety regulations and standards. For example, imported household electrical products must comply with three sets of consumer safety regulations which are enforced by Trading Standards:

  • Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
  • Plugs and Sockets, etc (Safety) Regulations 1994
  • Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995

While standards are not compulsory for many goods in the industry, CE marking is a legal requirement for some equipment, eg most types of consumer electronics, phones, computers, and medical devices. Read about standards and technical regulations for imported technology goods.