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What is the CE Marking?

One of the most important considerations in designing electrical and electronic products for export today is the requirement for a CE Marking on almost all types of equipment that will be sold in Europe. This section is designed to address some commonly asked questions about the CE Marking and what designers have to do in order to assure that their products can carry the CE Marking.

What is CE Marking?
In its simplest form, the CE Marking is an electrical device’s passport that allows it to enter Europe.It symbolizes that the equipment complies with all requirements relating to CEsafety, public health, consumer protection or other requirements defined in directives issued by the Council of the European Union. It is neither an agency approval nor a quality mark. It does nothing more than let the responsible customs official know at a glance that the equipment is authorized to enter and to circulate freely within the EU (European Union).If the equipment does not carry the CE Marking, customs regulations dictate that it will be denied entry to the EU, just as an individual would be denied entry without a passport. If an equipment manufacturer affixes the CE Marking to equipment that is found to not comply with the directives, the equipment will be seized by responsible government authorities. If the manufacturer has a physical presence in the European Union, they, as well as their distributors, may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

What equipment must carry the CE Marking?
Electrical equipment, medical devices, telecommunications terminal equipment, weighing instruments, machinery, and construction products are some of the devices that must carry a CE Marking. More information on European Union directives and Council legislation concerning the use of the CE Marking is available from the European Union. Their web site address is Their U.S. office can be contacted as follows:

European Union
Delegation of the European Commission to the United States
2300 M Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
Telephone: (202) 862-9500
Fax: (202) 429-1766

Why does Europe have CE Marking?
Early in the 1990’s, customs barriers to trade within the European Union were eliminated, allowing the free movement of goods throughout the EU. This event made harmonized European standards essential and required the development of procedures to assess the conformity of products to the European Union directives. The CE Marking is the indication that the equipment complies with all applicable European Union directives.

How does the manufacturer get CE Marking?
Contact product safety approval agencies like UL, TUV, and BSI—ask for assistance with CE Marking.