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EU and US Import Barriers Hit China LED Lights Exports Again



The EU and U.S. high technology demands, safety standards, and technological barriers are influencing Chinas LED lights exports. These technological barriers have become the biggest export resistance for Chinese LED lights, such as LED strip display. In recent months, the EU and U.S. raised import standards are adding to the grief of Chinese LED lights manufacturers and putting Chinas 8,000 plus LED lights manufacturers on an hard road to export goods. In the overseas market, Chinese manufacturers are "under attack by Europe, U.S. and Japan’s technological barriers, and with a slowly domestic market, Chinas mainland manufacturers face an embarrassing oversupply situation.


The International Lighting Standard IEC62560-2011 states, led lights manufactured for normal use should not have contactable live parts after installation and wiring or during replacements of lighting source or starters with lights on, even when not manually operated. Inspectors have found on several routine export inspections, many LED lamps still have a live electric part after the lamp holder was plugged into the lamp stand.


In a recent inspection, Wuxi Entry-Exit Inspection Quarantine Bureau found an exporting manufacturers general lighting used self-ballasted LED lamp. Due to the unreasonable structure, the product was declared unqualified and could not be exported.


The EU, U.S., Chile, Uganda and other country and regions have set higher standards for directional light and LED lights imports, according to the Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision of Guangdong Province’s WTO/TBT Center. More stringent requirements and higher standards are placed on LED lights products to include energy saving, eco-design, energy efficiency labels, tests and inspections, performance, safety, size, weight and shape. For instance, the EU requires high energy efficiency for table lamps and LED lamps.


According to statistics, in 2012, Ningbo exported a total of 56,000 lamps valuing USD 1.45 billion, an increase of 12% and 23% respectively compared to 2011. In terms of product types, main export products are still traditional lighting fixtures including outdoor lamps, solar lamps, and LED (HID) work lights, which accounted for 30% of total exports and increased 33% compared to a year earlier. As for the "new force" of LED lights, exports have increased over the years and now make up 22% of total exports, a jump of 47% compared to last year. EU is still the "main front" for outdoor lamp exports, accounting for 51% of total exports up 13% compared to last year. The U.S. market is also more important, and accounts for 20% of total exports, soaring 48% compared to 2011. As for inspection results, the number of unqualified export lamps was down 40% in 2012, a slight decrease of 0.41% compared to a year earlier.


Affected by price, Chinas domestic LED lights market demands remained relatively small. Most products are still exported to overseas markets, which is why the recent LED lights criteria raise will make great impact on factories with an export focus.


"Enterprises should be positive about EUs regulation that raises the bar for entry," said Paul Nie, President of Leading Testing Laboratories (LTL). "Standardization and internationalization are inevitable trends, and there are going to be further raises in the future." Nie appears to know "in advance" pointing out the two main indicators for lighting are safety and product performance. Lighting manufacturers have always been more focused on safety issues, but as lighting enters the LED era, the market will certainly increase demands on product performance.

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