I would like to sell a luminaire on the European market and in the USA.

From what I understand, CE certification is required to sell on the European market. In the USA, however, such certification is not necessary.

If such a product is sold online, directly, to consumers in the USA, taxes are paid according to a threshold and are collected at state level.

Is the analysis correct? I really don't know where to look for the legislation. Thank you very much

  • 1
    Many (particularly the reputable) resellers (not Amazon and the like) will not sell an electronic product unless it is certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). One common, but far from the only, NRTL is Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


The answer to the tax question is complicated and another answer at Law.SE cited in the comments already addresses it.

With regard to the product liability part of the question, even though CE certification is not required to sell goods in the U.S., the Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which has been adopted as state law in every U.S. state, imposes liability upon a seller of goods that are defective (either due to faulty manufacturing, or a defective design, or due to failure to warn of a risk of harm) and cause injuries as a result.

Product liability is not limited to the manufacturer of the goods under U.S. law.

A certification from a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory greatly reduces the seller's exposure to liability for defective design and failure to warn, because the buyer has to overcome the evidence from the certifying organization that it was not a defective design and contained the necessary warnings, although this doesn't protect the seller from liability for a manufacturing defect.

Normally, retail seller of goods would want to have a contract from the wholesale seller or the manufacturer indemnifying them from liability for a defective product, which is also implied in law under the UCC. But, if the transaction between the retailer and the wholesaler or manufacturer takes place in Europe, the UCC will not apply to that transaction and the retail seller could be hit with UCC liability in a U.S. court without having recourse against the wholesaler or manufacturer.

The exact scope of UCC liability varies somewhat from state to state.

There is sometimes room to expressly limit UCC liability contractually in connection with the retail sale. But the legality of waving the warranty that buyers of goods receive if not otherwise agreed depends upon a combination of state law (which isn't uniform on this point) and a federal law related to the waiver of warranties, both of which have very specific formal requirements.

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