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Germany’s Central Authority of the Federal States for Safety (ZLS) Imposes a Technical Barrier to Trade

Germany’s Central Authority of the Federal States for Safety (ZLS), in an attempt to exert greater control over its national certification process, has imposed a barrier to trade.   ZLS decreed that a German Safety (GS) certifier can no longer accept test reports from any IECEE Certification Bodies in order to obtain the GS mark for an electrical product without conducting further testing.  This is in sharp contrast to previous policies and practices whereby such test reports were readily accepted by a GS certifier the GS certification mark issued.  No legitimate purpose such as consumer or environmental protection was provided to justify the technical requirement.  Unlike Germany, the U.S. leaves the decision on whether to conduct additional testing with its nationally recognized certification body as it should be.  It is the certification body having the technical expertise and competency to conduct product compliance assessments leading to a decision on whether to issue certification, not the central authority.  ZLS’s decree adds significantly to the cost of product conformance and lengthens the time for market entry by demanding GS certification bodies perform redundant testing for all non German electrical products.  The policy has the potential to spread to all EU member states participating in the IECEE CB Scheme.  With decrees such as these, is there any wonder why Germany runs a balance of trade surplus?

Posted 10-26-2010 11:20 PM by Solis, Joel

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