What is Certificate of Conformity (COC) and How to Get One?
September 30th, 2021
Have you heard about the COC certificate for importing business?
Do you know how to get a COC certificate?
A certificate of conformity is a globally recognized document that shows all the products meet the required standards. For some specific products, you will be required to provide a certificate of conformity to get customs clearance for many countries.
Some countries ask for a COC certificate for specific products, which can help speed up the inspection process and customs clearance. In addition, a COC certificate can ensure that your products are safe for users.
This blog will tell you everything you need to know about the COC certificate, its importance, and how to get a certificate of conformity. Let’s start learning!
Chapter 1: Overview of COC Certificate and Its Importance
Before we dive into details and tell you about how to get a COC certificate, it is important to understand the COC document meaning and why a certificate of conformity is required.
1. What is a COC Certificate of Conformity?
In simple words, we can define a Certificate of Conformity (COC) as a document issued to importers or exporters. It can help verify the products or services that purchased or supplied fulfill the necessary standards.
A COC certificate is generally required for customs clearance for goods entering specific countries.
A buyer can demand a certificate of conformity to ensure the products have been inspected. And it can also show that those products meet the established standard within one specification.
Additionally, it is used to check the products also meet both technical and safety standards.
What else can be the reason? A certificate of conformity can also be a compulsory requirement as mentioned by any country’s legal provisions for certain goods, such as Bluetooth devices sold in the United States.
2. Why is a COC Certificate Required?
A COC certificate is required for importing products not just from China but also other countries. This certificate accelerates the inspection process of your products.
To safeguard the safety and well-being of the population, several nations require that items be examined before they are imported to verify that they fulfill Global standards.
As a result, consignments that satisfy the global requirements are issued a Certificate of Conformity. The COC certificate will be further provided to the customs officials inside the importing country, with that, the shipment can be approved for importation.
So, before you export or import your products or other services, you should know about the specific COC certificate which the importing county requires.
It will be required before shipping the goods in order to create a good reputation with importers.
3. Which Countries Need a COC Certificate?
Suppose you are confused about whether or not you need a COC certificate for your product category. In that case, you can take help from your local chamber of commerce or a business lawyer in your sector.
The experts can provide you with specific information on the Certificates of Conformity that your company requires. Some exporting countries, notably China and the United States, demand exporters to get a Certificate of Conformity for some products.
There are many other nations that demand a COC certificate for imported items, include:
Luckily, many local producers and traders are exempt from obtaining COC. In comparison, exporters and importers are generally needed to provide a variety of COC along with other company licenses and permits.
It is important to note that a COC certificate will vary based on your company’s category of products and location.
4. Which Products Need a Certificate of Conformity?
A product is granted a COC certificate if it fulfills a minimal set of legislative, technical, and safety standards. In general, a COC certificate is necessary even before your goods to be sold in a specific country. Thus the criteria for a given product will differ globally.
Some of the items that may need a COC certificate include some high-risk categories, such as equipment used in explosive atmospheres, products containing hazardous substances and explosives.
Also product categories that require technical skills are also exported with COC certificate, for example, measuring instruments, pressure equipment, medical devices, energy-related products, water boilers and so on.
But these are not all, there are more and you should check with your consultants before importing the products.
Chapter 2: Main Elements of a COC Certificate that You Must Know
Now that you know whenever you are dealing in international trade, you will be required to provide a COC certificate for a specific category of products.
In this chapter, we have listed below all necessary elements a certificate of conformity must contain:
1. Product Identification
It does not matter what category of products you are selling. if you are liable to submit a COC certificate, then you must provide the complete description of your products in it. It can be your product full name, the material of the product and other information.
Although the format of product identification is not always same, it always need to be there.
Then custom clearance authorities will definitely reject any certificate without this information. Hence the product identification is the primary element of your COC certificate.
2. A List of All the Safety Regulations
Another essential thing you need to provide in your COC certificate is safety regulations. For this reason, your COC certificate should clearly state all of the safety requirements for which your items must be tested.
List these safety requirements in the document can help your goods finish the COC certificate application easier.
For the reason that the staff there will check not only the numbers of certificates, but also they will go through those requirements and check whether those are suitable for the products.
3. The Date and Location of the Product’s Manufacture
Your COC certificate will not be considered valid until it contains details about the date and location of the product manufactured.
You need to clearly state the month and year in which your product was manufactured, along with the details name of the city, state of manufacture, and country.
You can also prepare a clear picture of each product category, and the picture should clearly show the content of the label.
4. Contact Information of the Person in Charge of Test Results Records
A COC certificate must also contain the complete contact details of the person who keeps test records on behalf of the certification.
Therefore, you will need to provide the name, e-mail address, full postal address, and contact details of the person who keeps test records.
With the detail contact information, the certificate will be approved that it belongs to your company. Then during customs clearance, the products can easily be passed when the contact information is same as your business information.
5. Identification of the Importer or Manufacturer
Besides the above important things, your Certificate of Conformity must also identify the importer or manufacturer clearly.
You will need to provide the name, phone number, and complete postal address of the importer or domestic manufacturer who is certifying the goods.
While the staff is checking, they can have a look about the manufacturer or supplier’s business number. If their names are famous enough, the process will be faster as they have finalized similar orders many times before.
6. Identification of Third-Party Laboratory Involved
It is also essential to identify any third party involved in your COC certificate. Without the identification, your COC certificate will not get approval.
The body of your COC certificate must include the third-party laboratory’s name, phone number, and full postal address.
7. The Date and Location Where the Product Was Tested
The last important element of the Certificate of Conformity is mentioning the date and location where the product was tested. All you should do is mention complete details such as the date of tests, location of the testing, or test reports.
Chapter 3: Which Documents are Required in Addition to a COC Certificate when Importing From China?
Every county has its own legislation and policy standards. Due to this factor, some documents may be excluded, which are normally required during customs clearance.
In addition to the COC certificate, you will also require several other documents on hand to ensure the seamless shipment of your items. The following are the typical documents you will require:
1. A Commercial Invoice
Apart from a COC certificate, the commercial invoice is another important document in global trade and ocean freight shipment. In an international shipment, a commercial invoice is a legal document provided by the exporter (seller) to the importer (buyer).
It acts as a contract and evidence of sale between the buyer and seller.
It simply describes the products being imported, the payment arrangements, and the trade. Additionally, the commercial invoice specifies the value, prices, and quantity of products sold.
It also includes the purchase or sale terms agreed by both the seller and buyer of the transaction.
It is one of the most important documents and is also used to calculate customs duties. Therefore, while filing a commercial invoice, it is critical to ensure that all information is properly and accurately filled out.
2. A Bill of Entry
A Bill of Entry (BE) is also a legal document prepared by customs clearing agents or importers prior to the arrival of imported products. It is presented to customs as the component of the clearance process.
A Bill of Entry document includes information such as the kind of products, the country of origin, and details about the shipment and merchant data.
3. An Inspection Certificate
An inspection certificate is a document that certifies that transported products have been checked to ensure that they meet the conditions of the sales contract.
Not to mention, this document is only necessary for certain commodities, such as industrial machinery, perishable products, and meat products.
Where to get an inspection certificate? An inspection organization can provide you with an inspection certificate that shows your items have fulfilled the appropriate testing. It also certifies that your items are suitable for importing and consumption.
4. A Bill of Lading
A Bill of Lading, often known as B/L, is another significant document that traders will have to deal with while conducting an overseas transaction.
The Bill of Lading serves as a carriage contract and will be required no matter whether you are exporting, importing, engaging with ocean transportation, or dealing with air freight.
The Bill of Lading serves as proof of a carriage contract between the exporter and the shipping line to deliver the cargo under the terms and circumstances set upon by the buyers and sellers. It establishes the validity of the contract for the carriage of goods.
5. A Certificate of Origin
A certificate of origin (CO) is a document that specifies where a product or commodity was produced.
It includes details about the goods, their intended destination, and export location. A product, for example, may be labeled “Made in the United States” or “Made in China.”
Who requires the Certificate of origin? A certificate of origin is usually required by importing nations and included in international trade agreements.
6. An Insurance Certificate
An insurance certificate is also referred to as a cargo insurance certificate and specific cargo insurance.
When insurance is taken against an international maritime cargo policy, this document provides coverage for cargo damage or loss while in transportation.
In rare instances, a shipper can provide a document certifying that a consignment has been protected under a specific active policy.
The document incorporates and replaces the conditions of that open policy. In simple words, it describes the extent to which each item is covered.
7. An Import License
An import license is another important document given by a national government. It allows specific products to be imported into its jurisdiction.
Import licensing protects firms involved in international trade from legal challenges and financial damages. An import license is an authorization to import a defined quantity of specific products during a set time period (generally one year).
What’s best about import licenses? Such licenses control the outflow of foreign money, anticipate the entrance of dangerous products and chemicals.
It also protects the home economy from international competition.
8. A Proforma Invoice
In simple words, a proforma invoice, as opposed to an invoice, is a quote or estimate that details the products and services which a seller agrees to sell. A proforma invoice is sent before a job is finished or items are delivered.
The goal of this document is to guarantee that both the supplier and the client are on the same page regarding the contract, such as the pricing of the products and services.
In addition, it provides potential buyers with an overview of how much items and services cost and why.
9. A Sales Contract
As the name says, a sales contract is a contract between a buyer and a seller. In a sales contract, the seller promises to provide or sell anything to a buyer for a predetermined amount that the buyer has agreed to pay.
Under these contracts, when the payment is made and the seller delivers the products, ownership will then be transferred to the buyer.
A contract of sale specifies the conditions of a sale of products or services, including the identification of the products sold, inspection time, delivery instructions, any warranty, and payment information.
Chapter 4: FAQs about the COC Certificate
1. Is a Certificate of Conformity required when importing goods from China?
It directly depends on the type of products you want to import from china. A COC certificate is only valid for a certain product category.
As a result, it is critical first to confirm that whether you will need one or not. You can contact the authorized party or officials to get information about the COC certificate.
2. Who has the authority to issue a COC Certificate?
A COC certificate can be given by the manufacturer or by the laboratory that performs the testing. Any products category that requires a COC certificate must enter the port with it. If they do not, they will be denied entry into the nation.
3. What to do when submitting products for a COC certification?
When you submit your products for COC certification, the first step is to complete a “request for quote form.” Before requesting it, you should determine whether you require any further documents.
Following that, you will receive a quotation that includes all common assumptions and also pricing for the services.
4. How long is COC valid?
A certificate of conformity is applicable for ten years after the product’s last date of production. However, it also can be varied if the directive specifies a different term.
As we have mentioned, a COC certificate is specific to each industry, and whether or not you need one entirely depends on the type of product you want to import from china or other countries.