CE marking vs China Export: This is the difference

Two contradictory symbols: CE mark and China Export

The differences between the European CE mark and the China Export mark often cause confusion in international trade. At first glance, these symbols may seem similar, but the implications of one or the other sign on your product couldn't be more different. This distinction is important not only for regulatory compliance, but also for end-user safety. In this article, we talk about the differences between these symbols, clarify the meaning of the CE marking according to the European Union, and offer tips for importers who source products from China.

In this blog:

  • The CE marking demonstrates EU conformity; the China Export mark does not.
  • Correctly recognizing these symbols prevents the purchase of non-compliant products.
  • Mixing the symbols can lead to safety risks and legal problems.
  • Careful product control and appropriate documentation are required to meet EU standards.

The meaning behind the CE marking

CE marking, also known as a CE mark, stands for Conformité Européenne in French, or “European Conformity” in English. This product marking is a clear indicator that a product complies with EU legislation regarding safety, health, and environmental protection. It is a mandatory marking for specific products traded within the European Economic Area (EEA). This marking guarantees that the product has been evaluated before being placed on the market and meets EU requirements. It serves as a passport for products to move freely within the EEA. According to the European Commission, the CE marking is not just a quality label, but a declaration by the manufacturer that all legal requirements have been met.

Please note: Not all products may carry a CE marking!

The misunderstanding surrounding China Export

In contrast to the CE marking, there is the so-called China Export mark, which is often wrongly interpreted as being equivalent to the European standard. This misunderstanding arises because the letters "C" and "E" in the China Export mark are closer together, making it look similar to the CE mark at first glance. However, this mark does not mean that the product has been evaluated according to EU standards. It simply indicates that a product is intended for export from China. This distinction is crucial for importers and consumers, as adopting the wrong marking can lead to the importation of non-compliant and potentially unsafe products.

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The importance of recognition

Correctly identifying the CE Mark versus the China Export Mark is of great importance for anyone involved in the import or sale of goods within the EEA. An incorrect logo can not only lead to serious safety risks but also to far-reaching legal consequences. Importers should carefully check the documentation and certificates of their products to ensure their compliance with EU standards. Awareness and knowledge are the keys to avoiding the pitfalls associated with these two very different symbols.

Challenges and tips for importers

For importers doing business with Chinese manufacturers, it is important to make a clear distinction between these two marks. It is advisable to work closely with reliable partners and use thorough quality control and product testing. Make sure that all products you import are subject to the correct certification and documentation demonstrating their compliance with EU regulations. By being proactive and applying due diligence, you can minimize the risks associated with importing non-certified products.

Please note: Simply placing the correct CE marking logo is not enough. There is a whole world of compliance behind it, such as testing, certification and more!


Knowing the difference between the CE mark and the China Export mark is more than a matter of legal compliance; it is about ensuring consumer safety and protection. By following the right protocols and ensuring strict compliance with EU standards, importers can not only avoid legal complications but also contribute to a safer market for everyone. The CE mark stands as a beacon of quality and safety within the European market, and maintaining this standard is essential for maintaining trust and integrity in international trade.

Do you need help with CE marking?

To learn more about the correct use of a CE mark, contact us today!

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