International Standards

General Standards

Portugal is one of the EU countries. That is why all the importers and exporters has to be aware of the EU international standards in order to make their business in Portugal as well as in the other countries. 

EU standards setting is a process based on consensus initiated by industry or mandated by the European Commission and carried out by independent standards bodies, acting at the national, European or international level. There is strong encouragement for non-governmental organizations, such as environmental and consumer groups, to actively participate in European standardization. 

A large number of international standards in the EU are adopted from international standards bodies such as the International Standards Organization (ISO). The following organizations play an important role in standards creation:

1. CEN, European Committee for Standardization, handling all other standards  

1. CENELEC, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization

1. ETSI, European Telecommunications Standards Institute 



Every exporter and importer has to know the packaging and labeling rules and standards, established by the EU in order to safe the economic situation of the country and protect the customers from falsifications and dangerous chemical elements. 

The packaging must conform to European legislation on the prevention of health risks to consumers and the protection of the environment, especially as regards waste treatment. Packaging in wood or vegetable matter must be subjected to a phytosanitary inspection. Any name symbols and marks relating to the product must be found on the exterior of the packaging.

All products retailed on the Portuguese market must be accompanied by an information leaflet in Portuguese language. Portuguese or international law must have authorized any foreign words or abbreviations. The writing must be clear and non-promotional. 

The labeling of the products has to contain the age for the products such as toys, alcoholic beverages, colorings, etc. Basic requirements include the origin of the product, name/trademarks, composition, usage instructions, required dates. 

European legislation provides for specific labeling rules for certain products such as foodstuffs, household equipment, sportswear, textiles, pharmaceuticals, detergents, tobacco, fertilizers, alcoholic beverages and foodstuffs containing preservatives and colorings, dangerous or toxic products, etc.

Labeling of seeds from genetically modified varieties or products containing GMOs is compulsory; the agents of the plant protection services are authorized to make random checks on the conformity of batches of seeds and imported plants, the agents from the Competition and Fraud squad do the same for products suitable for human consumption. 



Portugal takes a part of the EU. In such a way, the EU is one to establish the rules of product certification during the export and import processes. 

To sell products in the EU market of 28 member states as well as in Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, U.S. exporters are required to apply CE marking whenever their product is covered by specific product legislation. CE marking product legislation offers manufacturers a number of choices and requires decisions to determine which safety/health concerns need to be addressed, which conformity assessment module is best suited to the manufacturing process, and whether or not to use EU-wide harmonized standards. The CE marking process is very complex and this section attempts to provide some background and clarification.

According to the EU rules, the product certificate has to contain the following information:

1) All the information about the product has to be printed on a label securely affixed to the package or printed on the package itself;

2) All lables on the package have to be printed only in the official language;

3) All products with false, misleading or deceprive representation are not allowed to be placed on the market;

4) The content on the label has to be clear, prominent, indelible, and readily legible by the consumer

Products manufactured to standards adopted by CEN, CENELEC or ETSI, and referenced in the Official Journal as harmonized standards, are presumed to conform to the requirements of EU Directives. The manufacturer then applies the CE marking and issues a declaration of conformity. With these, the product will be allowed to circulate freely within the EU. A manufacturer can choose not to use the harmonized EU standards, but then must demonstrate that the product meets the essential safety and performance requirements. Trade barriers occur when design, rather than performance, standards are developed by the relevant European standardization organization, and when U.S. companies do not have access to the standardization process through a European presence.

The CE marking addresses itself primarily to the national control authorities of the member states, and its use simplifies the task of essential market surveillance of regulated products. As market surveillance was found lacking, the EU adopted the New Legislative Framework, which went into force in 2010. As mentioned before, this framework is like a blueprint for all CE marking legislation, harmonizing definitions, responsibilities, European accreditation and market surveillance.

The CE marking is not intended to include detailed technical information on the product, but there must be enough information to enable the inspector to trace the product back to the manufacturer or the local contact established in the EU. This detailed information should not appear next to the CE marking, but rather on the declaration of conformity (which the manufacturer or authorized agent must be able to provide at any time, together with the product's technical file), or the documents accompanying the product. 



Independent test and certification laboratories, known as notified bodies, have been officially accredited by competent national authorities to test and certify to EU requirements.

"European Accreditation" ( is an organization representing nationally recognized accreditation bodies. Membership is open to nationally recognized accreditation bodies in countries in the European geographical area that can demonstrate that they operate an accreditation system compatible to appropriate EN and ISO/IEC standards.



Marianne Drain, Standards Attaché 

Tel: +32 2 811 5034


Diana Dus, Standards Specialist 

Tel: +32 2 811 5001 


Louis Fredricks, Commercial Assistant 

Tel: +32 2 811 4194


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