E N F O R C E M E N T   AND   C O M P L I A N C E

Garmin Marine Navigation GPS Units Navigate Turkish Customs

The International Trade Administration worked with Garmin of Olathe, Kansas, to make sure its $1.5 million worth of self-certified marine navigational GPS units cleared Turkish customs. Garmin products were improperly held up for failing to meet adequate testing despite using the correct process for meeting the European Union’s marking requirements.

Why it Matters: Turkish customs had misinterpreted the marking rules for the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive and this prevented Garmin from selling its marine navigational GPS units in Turkey. It is important that the marking rules be interpreted uniformly across all the European Union countries including Turkey so companies can take advantage of the single market.

w of ship cutting through calm ocean waters.
Courtesy: Garmin International, Inc.

The Problem: Turkish customs had detained a shipment of Garmin’s marine navigational GPS units in February 2011. Turkish customs claimed that the CE Mark Directive on Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) required that these products be tested and certified at a third party lab recognized by the European Union (EU). However, the R&TTE Directive allows for the marine navigational GPS units imported by Garmin to be self-certified. Garmin asserted that it used the correct European standards and received a test result from an independent U.S. lab to demonstrate that it met the requirements of the standard.

The Solution: ITA officials, working in close collaboration with the Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, worked with Turkish government officials to explain that marine navigational GPS units can be self-certified by an accredited independent lab, in compliance with the relevant EU standard. As a result, Turkish customs officials correctly assessed Garmin’s products and accepted its self-certification. Garmin reported in May that its most recent shipments to Turkey had gone through customs smoothly and the company does not anticipate any trouble getting these products into Turkey in the future. After resolving this issue, Garmin’s senior compliance officer attested that “we’ve had a very close relationship with the Commerce Department in the past, and this is just another example of help they’ve given us.”