First off, I am telling everyone that you read my column first. I will post it on my Facebook account, along with an anonymous photograph which I will claim to be you. Now back to your question — you’re absolutely right about fixtures floating around without labels. UL and ETL are American entities; there is also CSA in Canada, which is not Cub Scouts of America but the Canadian Standards Assn. These testing companies have not been around forever. There are many vintage fixtures for sale, installed in homes and businesses, which have no label.
You certainly can import fixtures from other countries that have not been tested, but most licensed electrical contractors are hesitant to install them and building inspectors — as a rule — do not allow them to be used. It comes down to liability. Who would be responsible if an unlisted fixture were the cause of a fire? Of course, this does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that fixtures from Europe and elsewhere will automatically burst into flames when installed.
Manufacturers in other countries tend to test their fixtures in-house because it is simply bad for business if they do happen to self-ignite. Going through the UL listing process can be costly, so non-U.S.-based companies have to be judicious about which fixtures they select to introduce to the American market. This is the reason I’ve stopped going to the big European lighting shows because I see so much wonderful stuff that unfortunately will never make it to the our American shores — except for those that I have smuggled in inside my extremely large carry-on.