July 27, 2023

What Is a Certificate of Conformance

Let us paint you a picture. Suppose you’ve found your perfect Chinese manufacturer, and everything is going according to plan. Then, as soon as you’re about to import your fresh batch of products, it turns out you can’t pass it through customs without a Certificate of Conformance.

The first reaction? What on Earth is a Certificate of Conformance?

Good question, and quite an important one if you’re about to dive into the uncharted waters of the Chinese manufacturing market.

Even if not requested for customs clearance, a Certificate of Conformance (CoC) can be invaluable for B2B businesses working with Chinese manufacturers, especially those who worry about quality control.

What is a Certificate of Conformance, though? When is it required? And how to get one from your Chinese partner? That’s what we’ll cover today.

What Is a Certificate of Conformance (CoC)?

A Certificate of Conformance, or a Certificate of Conformity, is a document issued by an authorized party, either the manufacturer or an independent laboratory, which states that the underlying product complies with international or regulatory requirements.

CoC can be requested by a buyer to ensure and display the product meets all required safety regulations and technical specifications. On top of that, certain countries require imported goods to have a Certificate of Conformity to be put on the market (e.g., the United States and European countries).

However, even if a Certificate of Conformance isn’t mandatory in your country, it’s still better to have it issued.


First of all, it provides peace of mind that your Chinese partner follows all international standards regarding manufacturing, technical, and safety specifications.

Secondly, it helps importers establish applicable standards to improve process efficiency and speed up custom inspection processes. That way, you can ensure there are no delays or issues when putting your products on the market, helping you manage your supply chain risks.

When Is a Certificate of Conformity Required?

In general, a buyer usually requests a CoC on products or components that are considered high-risk or critical for their operation.

For example, suppose a smartphone manufacturer outsources battery production to China. Any defect can lead to failure, which can threaten the final product’s performance. In some instances, faulty smartphone batteries can even be unsafe for users.

A Certificate of Conformance confirms all batteries were produced according to the required technical and manufacturing specifications.

In many instances, a Certificate of Conformity is a mandatory document requested by a country’s customs. Without it, your imported products can be confiscated, impounded, or even destroyed during customs inspection.

However, that depends on the country and the type of product, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with your country’s regulatory and legal requirements before importing goods from your overseas manufacturer.

How to Get a Certificate of Conformance?

A CoC is usually provided by your manufacturer.

However, in most instances, these certificates are issued by third-party laboratories. During independent testing, an authorized party (either a testing agency or manufacturer) determines whether a product meets the required specifications, ensuring product compliance.

As a buyer, you should be able to request a Certificate of Conformance at any time. However, the best way to ensure compliance is to work with a trusted sourcing agency to handle your quality control processes.

This is something MorphoMFG can help you with, ensuring all your products comply with manufacturing specifications and have all required certificates in place, including a Certificate of Conformance.

What Should a CoC Include?

A Certificate of Conformance legally declares that the manufacturer’s product has been tested and that it meets the standards and specifications required stated in the specific market’s regulatory requirements.

What information should a Certificate of Conformity include? Usually, it should list at least the following mandatory elements:

  • Product identification. A description of the underlying product along with the purchase order number involved in the CoC.
  • Importer or manufacturer identity certificate. It should include the legal name, address, and contact details of the importer or manufacturer certifying the product.
  • A list of all safety regulations a product must pass. The CoC must clearly state what safety requirements and regulations the product has been tested for and whether it’s passed them.
  • A list of issued certificates. The CoC should include the list of all certificates issued to the manufacturer, confirming product compliance after testing.
  • The date and place where the product was manufactured. There must be information about where and when the underlying product was manufactured, showing at least a year and month, as well as the city and country of the product’s origin.
  • The date and place where the product was tested. The CoC needs to provide information about the date and location where product tests took place with a cited list of safety rules.
  • Information about the lab or certification agency. If the test was conducted by an independent laboratory or certification agency, there should be information about the issuer, including the agency’s name, contact number, and address.

Besides this minimum mandatory information, a Certificate of Conformance can also include additional information stated in the contract between a manufacturer and importer.

In many instances, companies also require Certificates of Conformance to include drawings, storage, packaging, labeling requirements, and physical identification legally signed by the person responsible for the declaration of compliance.

Wrapping Up

And that’s a wrap!

As you can see, obtaining a Certificate of Conformance for your imported products is not only recommended but usually required by customs regulations.

In many countries, it’s impossible to import goods without a CoC. And if you find it too late, it can severely affect your operations, delaying or even preventing you from putting your products on the market.

However, we understand that learning all the ins and outs of your destination country’s product compliance regulations and customer safety laws can be daunting. That is why we offer our clients a convenient and trustworthy solution.

Ensuring quality control is one of the most important services we provide, ensuring your products meet various regulatory requirements and come with all important documents and required certifications. CoC included.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you guarantee compliance on international markets!

About the author

Josh Fairbairn

CEO of MorphoMFG, fluent in Mandarin, Blogger, and Youtuber. Josh loves interesting materials and the craftsmanship that goes into creating innovative products - watches, tech, games, whisky, leather, wood, blockchain & electronics. Josh and his team in Guangzhou, China are striving to create (& consume) the world’s highest quality products. Partnering with entrepreneurs globally to help solve the world's problems - whether small or large.

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