A Certificate of Conformance, which is also commonly known as Certificate of Compliance is a proof of a given product meeting the required set of standards, as required by the buyer. It is more popular in international trade where the importing nations are skeptical about the quality standards of the product that is to enter their markets; and to be certain about it, they require a CoC.
In the list of documents required to be submitted at the customs clearance stage, you will find the name of CoC, along with business licenses, permits, etc. The need for replacing the conventional method of inspection at the customs clearance stage with a Certificate of Conformance arose when traders started having reservations with how risky this was becoming for them. A rejection at that stage meant all the costs incurred up till that point going in vain.
Therefore, now, obtaining a Certificate of Conformance before goods are dispatched eliminates this risk. Exporters and importers must be cognizant of the specific CoC that is required by the authorities of the importing country for the specific product.
Apart from the legal requirement enforced by the governments to ensure that their citizens are not exploited, buyers/importers also have their reasons at times to require a CoC. For example, while purchasing a product as risky and expensive as aircraft components, a buyer would want to make his purchase as secure as he can and require a Certificate of Conformance from the seller/exporter.
Contents of a Certificate of Conformance (CoC)
1. Product Identification
This section describes the product that is being traded.
2. Reference to all the required safety standards the product has complied with
This part identifies all the necessary regulations the product has met with.
3. Buyer/Importer or Producer’s Identification
The full name, mailing address, telephone number, and other relevant contact details of the buyer or the manufacturer must be provided here.
4. Identification of the person in charge of the records of test outcomes
The full name, mailing address, telephone number, and other relevant contact details of the person maintaining the test outcomes to back the authenticity of the certification, must be provided here.
5. Place and Date of manufacturing
Details regarding the month and year of production, along with the city, state, and country of production must be provided here.
6. Place and Date of testing for compliance
Details related to the place and date of testing must be provided here.
7. Identification of any third-party laboratory involved in the testing process
The certifier must disclose in this section the name and relevant contact details of any third-party laboratory that was approached for the testing of the product for certification.
You can head on to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website and browse through different samples of Certificates of Conformance, ranging from that of mattresses to adult clothing.
How can you obtain a CoC
Every country has different sets of requirements to be fulfilled in order to sail through the clearance stage. As a manufacturer and/or exporter, you must know of the relevant details that your product’s CoC must cover. You can get hands on this information from the local chamber of commerce or your business’ lawyer (if any), else any business lawyer would walk you through the process.
Countries that require a CoC
Various countries have become mindful about as to what imported goods are allowed to enter in their markets. Examples of countries that have mandated the requirement of a CoC for almost every imported product include, but are not limited to:
- Saudi Arabia
As the article implies, a Certificate of Conformance is usually required for the admissibility of imported goods. But in countries like United States, local manufacturers also need a CoC for sales of all types of vehicles.
What is a Product Certificate of Conformity (PCoC)?
A PCoC is required by the government of Saudi Arabia to declare that the goods follow the required quality standards. To get a Product Certificate of Conformity, the importer has to register with SABER and are also compliant with the specific Technical Regulations. A PCoC issued by the Saudi government remains valid for one year after issuance.
Technical Regulations enforced by the Saudi government, which are also known as the Regulated Products cover the following, but are not limited to:
- Building materials
- Electrical and electronic products
- Textile products
These products are bifurcated into high-risk and medium-risk products, depending on the risk assessed. And then as per the level of risk profile of the product, relevant control activities are performed; later, a PCoC is issued via the SABER portal after the product successfully clears the control measures.
For medium-risk products, control activities include product testing and inspecting by the authorities. For high-risk products, relevant control activities comprise of product testing, factory inspection, and surveillance factory audit. As far as low-risk products are concerned, they are not governed by the Technical Regulations and only require a Declaration of Conformity from the exporter.
Moreover, after the PCoC is issued, the exporter needs to get an SCoC – Shipment Certificate of Conformity issued in order to ensure that the shipment of goods exported pass through the customs clearance stage. To get an SCoC issued, you must submit the PCoC issued via the SABER portal in addition to the required documents and technical evaluation by the certification expert.
Similar to the PCoC, the SCoC is also issued via the SABER portal, and is required for every shipment that is to access the market of Saudi Arabia.
Following the rapid increase in international trade, quality control measures have also enhanced to ensure the well-being of the local customers and security of the local markets. A Certificate of Conformance (CoC) is an example of such measures. Although it is known by different names in different countries.
For example, in the US it is known as a CoC, whereas in Saudi Arabia it is known as a PCoC. And in the European Union, it is known as a DoC – Declaration of Commodity.
But in the end, all of them serve the same purpose which is for the exporters to ensure a guaranteed access of their products in the international markets, and for the importers to make sure they are buying the type of product they paid for.