Determining which countries to get your product listed, labeled or certified for

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In the further training course about getting your product listed, labeled or certified…Today we’re going to talk about which countries to get listed or certified for.  This is important because it will control your scope and your timeline along with your project costs.

Check out the video with High Tech Design Safety, CEO, Steve Barcik Amstel:

Link to video also available here:

Which Countries  

So, a lot of times we get these questions…

  • Should I do North America listing or labeling? 
  • How many countries should I get certified? 
  • My gosh… I should do them all, right? 

Let us first talk about… what is your current customer base? If you’re now US only… Always do that first. 

If you can immediately expand to Europe and you already have distribution and sales team with support, clients and customers there, absolutely go ahead with a CE marking for Europe.

 Focus on where you currently can make money. 

Sometimes marketing teams will say you should do everything in the world. However, we are here to tell you… focus on making your company strong. Focus on near-term achievable markets.  We do this so we can be a long-term partner with you and your company.

Scope versus Budget

We also say… go for as many standards or countries as market and budget allow and as many as you think you will need at the end of your project. 

If you have the budget… meaning money. Also, the budget… meaning timeline…Go for what will make money for your company in the near term. Very often we just tell people go directly for your main market…. typically North America for North American companies, and the European Union for European countries. 

So, if you’re in Europe, your company is in Europe, your clients are in Europe…do CE marking for the EU. 

If you’re in North America… you know 95+ percent of your clients are in North America, and/or Canada…do it here.  Get that done first. 

Marketing teams are going to say… I can sell this product in every country in the world. Well awesome, and there’s a need for some return on investment talk. If you do multiple countries outside of North America and the European Union this will add complexity and time to your certification process. For example, we had a client who wanted certification for the whole world in one shot, and needed Australia. If later they found out that they can only sell maybe eight or ten machines a year…then the number of products they would sell per year is not sufficient to cover the cost of that certification. 

So just understand that scope, cost, and even product complexity increases with each country you add. Even the cost of translating manuals into foreign languages is a substantial non-reoccurring engineering cost.

Also adding each of these countries takes a couple more months. Focus on that main market first, then add these other ones later.


For startups, we would scope it as… where is your market… where do you live…what can we get done right away.

Most startups have a very short fuse from product sample to sales and if this is for something that has to be listed or labeled… Let’s not add a lot of complexity to it now. Let’s get you to market.

Focus on your first achievable market because cost and timeline matters. It will increase dramatically for every country that you add.


In summary, keep your scope as small as possible for now. Focus on the markets that you can achieve.  Get that listing and labeling done for those first markets. However, if you know you can have a substantial market in less than 18 months and can afford it, add that to the process. The cost of time adds up pretty quickly. 

Now, and generally what we see a lot of…is people doing North America and CE Mark, European Union, at the same time. That works and often makes sense if you have clients and customers in both regions. Additionally, the standards are somewhat harmonized between both regions.

At the same time, we also see a lot of people just doing North America or people just doing, CE Mark. That makes sense for those companies. 

When you start adding countries like Japan, Australia, Korea, UAE on and on…. It does make it more difficult. So, in summary, keep your scope small and go forward as fast as possible.

Reach out if you need something, even if it is just a quick question.  We are here to help at High Tech Design Safety.

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