Updated October 9.2020

A CoC Certificate of Conformity definition? A Certificate of Conformity (CoC), also known as a Certificate of Conformance or Certificate of Compliance is document given to exporters or importers to show that the good or services bought or supplied meet the required standards. The document is usually required during customs clearance of goods to some countries. In legal circles, a Certificate of Conformity is a document given by an officer of court to certify that an affidavit conforms to the law.

Why Certificates of Conformity Are Required

Many countries are apprehensive about the quality of some imported goods. To ensure the safety and wellbeing of their citizens, some countries insist that, before goods are imported, they must be inspected to ensure that they meet International standards. Consignments that meet the standards are given a Certificate of Conformity which is presented to the customs authorities in the importing country to be cleared for importation.

Governments traditionally used to inspect imported goods for quality at the port of entry. Because some of the goods could be rejected by the inspectors at the entry port–after the traders have spent a lot of money on importing and transporting them– importing some types of goods was a big gamble for traders. To prevent delays and financial losses to traders at the port of entry, many governments resorted to hiring a certification agency in the exporting country. The goods are thus certified before they are dispatched, thus enabling traders to have peace of mind when importing.

Before exporting or importing goods and services, traders must know the particular Certificates of Conformity that are required by the importing country. To build a good reputation with importers, some exporting countries, including the U.S., require exporters of certain goods to get a Certificate of Conformity before dispatching the goods.

How to Obtain a Certificate of Conformity

Most local manufacturers and traders are not required to get Certificates of Conformity. Exporters and importers, on the other hand, are usually required to obtain a number of Certificates of Conformity in addition to business licenses and permits. Certificates of Conformity vary depending on the industry and the location of the business. You can get details about the exact Certificates of Conformity that your business needs from a local chamber of commerce or a business lawyer in your state.

Agencies That Issues Certificates of Conformity

Governments have relationships with the international agencies that inspect and issue Certificates of Conformity. It is crucial to check with the destination country before hiring an agency to ensure that the agency is recognized by the authorities in that country. Some of the popular certification agencies are:

  • Intertek
  • Cotecna
  • SGS (Societe Generale de Surveillance)

Foreign Countries That Require Certificates of Conformity

Many countries require imported goods to have certificates of conformity. Examples of countries that insist on a certificate of conformity for most goods are:

  • Algeria
  • Mongolia
  • Belarus
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Syria
  • Uganda
  • Yemen
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia

Certificates of Conformity Requirements in the United States

  • Production of Motorcycles: According to EPA Regulation 40 CFR 86.407-78, a Certificate of Conformity is required for every motorcycle manufactured for sale domestically or for export. The only exception to this requirement is some motorcycles produced for personal use or for display.
  • Products that are subject to consumer safety laws: A General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) is required for all manufactured or imported goods or products which are not intended for children's use. The certificate must state that the goods comply with the relevant consumer product safety laws in the U.S. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer or importer to issue the GCC. A laboratory or another organization may help with drafting the document. Certification is done by checking each of the products. The GCC is not filed with the in the government but the manufacturers and importers are required to give their distributors a copy of the certificate.
  • Vehicles: All vehicles in the U.S. are required to have a Certificate of Conformity before being allowed to be used on U.S. roads. You can obtain these Certificates of Conformity from the EPA.

In courts, a Certificate of Conformity may be required in court to prove that the affidavit you submitted meets the requirements as outlined by the court. The certificate is normally issued by a clerk or another officer of the court.

If you need help with Certificates of Conformity, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.