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OSS Guide

OverSeas Suppliers (OSS) Guide

A Guide To Compliance Arrangements For Overseas Manufactures & Suppliers

Australian Compliance Responsibility 
Australian legislation and regulations concerning the supply of any electrical or electronic product supplied in Australia, place the responsibility for product compliance with the Australian manufacturer or importer or their appointed “Agent”. 

The legislation and regulations do not permit overseas manufacturers or suppliers who do not have a local Australian office to assume compliance responsibility for their products being supplied in Australia. 

Authorisation To Use Compliance Marks
Only Australian organisations may apply for and be registered to use the C-Tick mark (EMC and Radio) or the A-Tick mark (Telecommunications) and although an EMC Declaration of Conformity (DoC) may, in some instances, be signed overseas, only an Australian resident may sign a DoC for a telecommunications device.

How Then May Overseas Suppliers Access The Australian Market?
Where an overseas manufacturer or supplier does not have a local office in Australia, or it is not appropriate or desired that the local office assume compliance responsibility, each and every Australian importer of the overseas manufacturer’s or supplier’s product must assume compliance responsibility for the product they import, and before supplying that product, the importer must:

  1. Obtain product information and test reports from the overseas manufacturer or supplier;

  2. Confirm the product complies;

  3. establish a product Compliance Folder (CF);

  4. sign a DoC; and

  5. authorize in writing the overseas manufacturer or supplier to label the product with the importers unique C-Tick or A-Tick label that includes the importers ACMA Supplier Code.

Negatives Of This Regulatory Approach

  1. The overseas manufacturer or supplier is potentially faced with interacting with several importers in relation to compliance of their products and providing each and every importer with identical information so each and every importer can establish their own product CF. This arrangement is obviously rather complicated, cumbersome and resource intensive for the overseas manufacturer or supplier plus adds unnecessary duplication of effort.
  2. Presents unnecessary obstacles for the importer and therefore makes the products less attractive from a business point of view (unnecessary additional resources required and associated costs) because:
    1. an importer typically would not have the expertise in-house to deal with product regulatory compliance issues;
    2. importer needs resources to deal with the compliance issues;
    3. imposes additional costs on their operations (preparation of CF, back and forth communications to sort out compliance issues, maintaining an ACMA Supplier Code of their own etc – all of which must obviously be passed on via the product sale price.
  3. The overseas manufacturer or supplier must uniquely label product for each Australian importer of their product because each importer will have their own unique ACMA Supplier Code to be used in association with the relevant compliance mark (i.e. the C-Tick or A-Tick).

 

Appointment Of An “Agent”
Australian legislation provides for an Australian manufacturer or importer to appoint an “Agent” by way of a written and signed “Agent Agreement” between that manufacturer or importer and the “Agent”.  See the ACMA web page http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER.2097262:STANDARD:1826438300:pc=PC_2067 for further information.

This “Agent Agreement” can appoint to the Agent any degree of compliance responsibility (i.e. just advise on certain issues or complete responsibility for product CF and the signing of DoCs etc) for any or all products the local manufacture or importer may supply to the market.  This agreement may also include provision for the use of the “Agent’s” own ACMA Supplier Code.  This means the importer is not required to use their own ACMA Supplier Code or apply to be registered to use the C-Tick or A-Tick compliance mark if they have not done so already.  There is considerable advantage for the overseas manufacturer or supplier in this arrangement (explained in more detail below).

NOTE:  Where an overseas manufacturer or supplier has a local office in Australia but that local office is not the importer of their product (i.e. product is imported directly by distributors or various importers) the local office could, if desired, enter into “Agent” agreements with each importer of their product.

How Does The Appointment Of An “Agent” Assist Overseas Suppliers And Their Importers?
Many overseas manufacturers or suppliers:

Do not have a local Australian office or a local representative who is the importer; or
Does have a local office or a local representatives but they are not the importer or do not have the resources or expertise to deal with compliance.

Considering the regulatory requirements in Australia are such that the importer or their appointed Agent must be responsible for compliance, an arrangement which assists both overseas manufacturers or suppliers and Australian importers is one where the overseas manufacturer or supplier establishes an agreement with Stanimore to:

be the overseas manufacturer's or supplier's product compliance representative in Australia (i.e. ensure the products comply with Australian requirements, build and maintain product Compliance Folders and sign product compliance Declarations of Conformity etc); and
offer Agent services to their importers.

This type of arrangement also overcomes the negatives detailed above where each and every importer is required to separately undertake compliance responsibility for the product they import.

Such an arrangement would involve:

the overseas manufacturer or supplier entering into a business agreement ("Head Contract") concerning Australian product compliance Stanimore; and

Importers of the overseas manufacturer’s or supplier’s product appointing Stanimore as their “Agent” (by way of signed “Agent Agreement”) in terms of regulatory compliance for those product imported from that specific overseas manufacturer or supplier (this is the only type of Agent agreement recognised under the regulations).

Stanimore’s ”Agency For Equipment Compliance Arrangements In Australia” agreement (i.e. the business agreement or "Head Contract") provides for Stanimore acting as the single focal point for Australian product compliance for an overseas manufacturer or supplier, effectively acting as the overseas manufacturer’s or supplier’s local office and representative in terms of product compliance.

Stanimore’s “Australian Importer Agency For Equipment Compliance Arrangements In Australia” (i.e. the “Agent Agreement) appoints Stanimore as the importer’s “Agent” in terms of the importer’s product compliance obligations with respect to products they import from the particular overseas manufacturer or supplier and specifically identifies the existence of an independent but related agreement (“Head Contract”) between that overseas manufacturer or supplier and Stanimore.

Where an overseas manufacturer or supplier enters into an ”Agency For Equipment Compliance Arrangements In Australia” agreement with Stanimore and their importers appoint Stanimore as their Agent, the following benefits can be realised:

The advantages of a single point of contact concerning all Australian product compliance requirements;

Only one set of product information and documentation etc need be provided for each product;

Importers are relieved of the burden of product compliance responsibilities with respect to that overseas manufacturer’s or supplier’s product;

Importers are also relieved of any cost associated with product compliance as it is the overseas manufacturer or supplier who is paying (by way of the Stanimore business agreement) for Stanimore’s time and services in relation to acting as “Agent” to the importers rather than the importers paying for Stanimore’s services; and

Possibly the greatest benefit of all is that the overseas manufacturer or supplier will have only one compliance label to apply across their product range being supplied in Australia (C-Tick or A-Tick compliance mark with Stanimore’s ACMA Supplier Code) instead of unique labelling requirements for each importer of their product.

NOTE:  Only one “Agent Agreement” need be entered into with each importer.  Each Stanimore “Agent Agreement” with any importer includes a listing of product covered under that agreement ("Equipment Schedule A").  The agreement product listing can be easily amended to include new or additional product (including product variations and modifications etc) as and when required without requiring a new agreement.

 

Why Shouldn't One Of The Importers Be An Agent For All The Other Importers?
Stanimore has no competitive bias in terms of who the importers are.  

It is preferable from an overseas manufacturer or supplier point of view to form a relationship with an independent organisation such as Stanimore who specialise in providing compliance advice and Agent services rather than an importer (including distributors).  This is because:

Stanimore are professional and experienced compliance experts and therefore will be able to advise quickly and clearly what is required for each product and establish compliance with a minimum of interaction with the overseas manufacturer or supplier;

importers are not experts in compliance and therefore are generally likely to require much greater interaction with the overseas manufacturer or supplier in order to come to terms with what they believe they need to do for compliance; and

an importer/distributor has a vested interest in only undertaking activities that assist them in their business rather than being involved in activities which provide their competition with access to the same product.  As such, they most likely would not be motivated or generally willing to assume compliance responsibility for product imported by other importers by providing those competitors with Agent services.

 

Scope of Stanimore’s Agent Services
Stanimore provides “Agent” services concerning Australian product regulatory compliance of electrical or electronic devices in relation to:

EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility);

EMR (Electromagnetic Radiation – effects on the human body);

Radiocommunications (intentional transmitters); and

Telecommunications (any equipment with capability to connect to a public telecommunications network)

 

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Last modified: 20 July, 2005