As an Amazon seller, you may eventually be asked to present a Certificate of Conformity – either by the authorities or even Amazon itself.
To make sure their citizens are safe and healthy, many countries insist that goods are inspected prior to import. If they pass, certain documents will be issued to prove that those products are compliant with the regulations.
But as regulations vary, so do Certificates and the requirements to obtain them.
To get a better picture of this topic and not be caught off guard when importing goods or offering them on one of Amazon’s marketplaces we have put together a summary of some of the most important things you need to know. What is a Certificate of Conformity, how can you get it and what should it include?
What Is The Certificate Of Conformity?
A Certificate of Conformity (CoC), sometimes referred to as “type approval” is a document issued by an authorized party that states that a product meets the required regulatory, technical and safety requirements.
This way it can be ensured that all goods meet the national safety standards and nobody will be harmed.
As the requirements for importing products and selling them differ from country to country, there is not just one Certificate of Conformity that you will be able to use for every country across the world. Generally, you will need a different type of certificate depending on the markets you are selling to.
Which Countries Require A Certificate Of Conformity? EU And U.S. In Comparison
In many countries you are required to have some kind of Certificate of Conformity to import products. What you will need in particular will vary depending on the industry and country you want to import into.
In this blogpost we will focus on two of the most important markets:
- The United States – For US imports, you may need the General Certificate Of Conformity (GCC).
- Europe – For EU imports, you may need the European document which is called “Declaration of Conformity (DoC). The EU is very strict and regulations are constantly changing.
How To Get A Certificate Of Conformity
The procedure is always individual and depends decisively on your product, the market you are selling to and the legal requirements to be met there. Here are the steps that you will need to go through:
1. Find Out Which Legal Requirements Apply
At first you need to find out the legal requirements for selling the products in the market you are importing to.
To find out which regulations apply to your products in Europe check our Guide on selling on Amazon Europe.
2. Carry Out A Risk Assessment And The Appropriate Tests
Since you probably can’t assess whether or not your products meet the regulations, we highly recommend hiring a Third Party Inspection who will not only assess the overall product quality defined in the contract with your supplier but also make sure the legal requirements are met.
In order not to drive costs up too high, a risk assessment can be very helpful. Especially for smaller sellers it is impossible to carry out countless tests. In many cases, there are no clear guidelines on how many tests are required anyway. So it’s up to you to find the right balance between doing all the necessary tests while still remaining profitable. You need to understand that you will never be able to eliminate all risk completely but your goal should be to reduce it as much as possible.
Be sure to implement the measures that support proof of compliance with due diligence.
3. Get All The Documents You Need
We strongly advise not to just blindly rely on the completeness and accuracy of the documents provided by the (Chinese) manufacturers. They are generally more than insufficient.
As an Amazon seller, you can and should prepare the documents yourself, taking into account the formal requirements. If you are unsure about it, you can also have your documents checked for correctness by the usual testing laboratories.
Selling to The U.S. – How To Get The General Certificate Of Conformity (GCC)
If you are planning to import general use products to the U.S. that are manufactured overseas, you may need a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC). It is issued by the importer.
Find a list of rules that require the issuance of a GCC here.
Certificate Of Conformity Template – What Should A General Certificate Of Conformity Contain?
The following information needs to be included in a GCC:
- Identification of the product – The description should be detailed enough to match exactly the product it covers and no others.
- List of all regulations the product must comply with – The certificate should name each safety rule that is applicable to the product.
- Identification of the importer or manufacturer – Name, full address and telephone number is required.
- Identification of the person maintaining records of test results – Name, full address, e-mail address and telephone number is required.
- Date and place of manufacture – At least month and year of the manufacture date and city and country of the manufacture place are required.
- Date and place of testing – The locations of the testing and the date of the test are required.
- Identification of third party laboratory on whose testing the certificate depends – Required only for children’s products
Selling to The EU – How to Get The EU Declaration Of Conformity (DoC)
If you are planning to import goods to the EU, you need a Declaration of Conformity (DoC). If you are the manufacturer, you or an authorized representative need to draw up the DoC. In this document you declare that your products comply with the requirements of the EU and you take full responsibility.
What Should MyDeclaration Of Conformity Contain?
The following information should be contained in your DoC:
- Identification of the importer or manufacturer – Name and full business address are required.
- Identification of the product – The product’s serial number, model or type identification should be provided. Include a photo or any other means of identification that allows traceability.
- Responsibility statement – Include a statement that the respective person signing the document takes full responsibility.
- Relevant legislation – Name the relevant legislation with which your products comply.
- Date of the declaration – Write down the date the declaration was issued.
- Name and signature – Sign the DoC.
- Supplementary information – You may need to give further information, for example details of the notified body who carried out the conformity assessment procedure.
Conclusion – Know The Consequences!
With signing a GCC or DoC comes a lot of responsibility. The manufacturer assures that a product complies with all the legal requirements. You need to be able to present it on request. If you are not able to do so, fines may be imposed. If the product is defective, the importer is liable for the damage caused and may also be obliged to recall the products.
You should be aware of these far-reaching consequences a GCC or DoC has. For this reason, take this step very seriously and make sure your products comply with all the legal requirements.
This blog post does not represent individual advice in individual cases and cannot replace such advice. If you need assistance to assess which requirements apply to your products we highly recommend hiring a Quality Inspection Service.
Find a Quality Inspection Service who will help you with your Import Certificates! →