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The European Union (EU) with its 27 member states and population of 498 million is the world’s largest trading block. The European Union’s single market represents a multitude of opportunities for U.S. exporters but also poses a complex set of challenges. To gain access to the EU, U.S. companies must comply with European regulations, covering health, safety, environment, and other areas of concern.

Some of the key regulations include:

CE Marking

CE marking certifies that a product has met EU health, safety, and environmental requirements, which ensure consumer safety. Manufacturers in the EU and abroad must meet CE marking requirements where applicable in order to market their products in Europe.


REACH is a major reform of EU chemicals policy, affecting all global supply chains that produce and use chemicals. REACH requires the registration, evaluation, authorization and restrictions of chemicals entering the EU.

Safe Harbor

The European Commission’s Directive on Data Protection went into effect in October of 1998, and would prohibit the transfer of personal data to non-European Union nations that do not meet the European “adequacy” standard for privacy protection. While the U.S. and the EU share the goal of enhancing privacy protection for their citizens, the U.S. takes a different approach to privacy from that taken by the European Union. It has developed the Safe Harbor framework.


Companies selling a broad range of electrical goods in the EU must conform to both the WEEE (the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) and the RoHS (Restriction of Use of certain Hazardous Substances Directive). The EU's WEEE and RoHS Directives are implemented in EU countries by national WEEE and RoHS regulations. These vary considerably from country to country. We therefore strongly urge U.S. companies to get further information on WEEE and RoHS in the countries that they intent to export to.