Certificate of Conformance (COC): What is It? How to Get One?

Table of Contents

what is certificate of conformance

Certificate of Conformance (COC), also known as a Certificate of Conformity or Certificate of Compliance.

In trade, this document is given to the exporter or importer to show that the goods or services purchased to meet a particular country’s required standards.

So, what is it? How to get one? In this article, you will learn everything about the Certificate of Conformance.

What is a Certificate of Conformance (COC)?

A Certificate of Conformance, short for COC, is a document issued by the relevant agencies that have the authority to assure the customer or buyer that the product meets the specified standards or specifications.

The COC certifies that the product meets minimum production, technical, and safety standards.

These standards vary depending on the product and where the product will be sold, as different industries and countries have different regulatory requirements.

Therefore, importers need to consider both the destination country’s standards and international standards.

Why Need a Certificate of Conformance (COC)?

Many countries require a Certificate of Conformance to ensure that imported products meet all international standards before exporting.

A COC will be issued when the products meet international standards and are acceptable.

It will be presented upon arrival at the port and cleared at the destination customs so that the import can proceed smoothly.

Before exporting or importing goods and services, traders and exporters must know the Certificate of Conformance required by the importing countries.

To establish a good reputation with importers, some exporting countries, including the United States, require exporters of certain goods to obtain a COC before shipping the goods.

What Countries Need a Certificate of Conformance (COC)?

Many countries require a Certificate of Conformance for imported goods. Here are the countries that insist on a COC for most goods:

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

Requirements for Certificate of Conformance (COC) in the USA

1. Products Subject to the Consumer Safety Laws

A General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) is required for all goods manufactured or imported, or not intended for use by children.

The certificate must adequately describe and show that the merchandise complies with U.S. product and consumer safety laws.

The GCC is issued by the manufacturer or importer and is usually inspected upon receipt of the product.

The manufacturer or importer is responsible for administering the GCC and usually checks the product when received.

2. Motorcycles

According to the EPA, every motorcycle produced for domestic sale or export must have a certificate of Conformance.

3. Vehicles

All vehicles must have a Certificate of Conformance issued by the EPA before being placed in service.

What Should be Included in a Certificate of Conformance (COC)? 

certificate of conformance sample

Certificate of Conformance should include the contents of the following:

  1. Product identification, including product description in the COC and specifications of the relevant purchase order number
  2. Manufacturer/importer identity, such as legal name, address, and contact number
  3. A list of all safety regulations/standards that the product must pass
  4. A list of certificates granted to the manufacturer, certifying that the product has been tested and met the requirements
  5. Production date and the place of the items
  6. The date and place that product was tested for compliance with safety rules 
  7. The logo of any third-party laboratory/certification agency with an indication of who did the testing or issued the certificate

How to Get a Certificate of Conformance (COC)?

The buyer can request a certificate of Conformance to ensure that the products pass the standards of testing and safety guidelines and are entirely safe to use.

These guidelines are usually mandatory. However, it all depends on the region or country and what laws they may have regarding quality control and product safety.

Certificate of Conformance varies by industry and where your business is located. You can get detailed information about the exact COC required for your business from your local Chamber of Commerce or a business lawyer in your state.

Who Offers the Certificate of Conformance (COC)?

The manufacturer usually provides a certificate of Conformance stating that they have produced products that meet the relevant regulations’ requirements. However, an independent laboratory may also issue you with a COC in some cases.

On the other hand, the government always maintains a relationship with international agencies that inspect and issue certificates of Conformance.

Therefore. It is crucial to check with the destination country before hiring an agency to ensure that the authorities of that country accredit the agency.

What is the Difference Between COA and COC?

What is a Certificate of Analysis (COA)?

A certificate of Analysis (COA) is a document stating that the material supplied meets the required specifications with the actual test results and methods.

It is signed by the testing facility and is usually associated with the lot number and purchase order involved. A COA almost always has additional costs and time requirements.

COA is used by reference to the Certificate of Delivery issued to the customer. And COC is used by reference to the Certificate of Conformity submitted by the supplier for the material.

Therefore, there are two differences between COA and COC as follows:

1. Content

The contents of a COC usually do not include specific test conditions, test specifications, parameters, and test details, but the content of a COA is more strict and detailed.

A COA document records the actual test measurements based on the design of the product or manufacturing specifications. It also specifies details such as lot/batch numbers for traceability purposes.

2. Issuer and Authorization

COA is usually issued by Quality Assurance/Quality Control staff and authorized by the manufacturer to indicate and verify that the product you are selling (specified significant lot/batch number) meets its product requirements and details the accompanying test results.

COC can be issued by any authorized person/party, including third-party laboratories or certification agencies, to state that your product meets specific testing standards.

FAQ for Certificate of Conformance (COC)

1. Who can issue a certificate of Conformance?

Only registrants can issue a COC. So, the person must have a license issued by the Department of Labor. If not registered, they must be working under the supervision of a registered person.

2. How long is a Certificate of Conformance valid?

A certificate of Conformance 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.

3. When should a buyer request Certificate of Conformance (COC) from a supplier?

Buyers usually request a COC for critical or high-risk products/components. In some cases, specific documentation is required to prove or demonstrate the product’s safety to the end-user/customer.

4. Do I need a Certificate of Conformance when importing goods from China?

It depends on the type of product you want to import from China. The Certificate of Conformance is only valid for a specific product category.

Therefore, it is crucial to check and confirm whether you need it. You can contact an authorized party or official to get information about COC.

Certificate of Conformance (COC) Conclusion

A certificate of Conformance is one of the essential documents issued by your company to commit to providing products by applicable regulatory standards.

Quality is always a priority, but it takes a team to consistently provide and maintain excellent standards that build trust with customers, partners, and communities.

Yansourcing, a competent team of experts, we are available to support your company in this business journey with consulting. If you need help with COC, please feel free to contact us.

0 0 votes
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Hi, I'm the author of this post, and I have been in the sourcing field for more than 10 years. If you are interested in importing from China, feel free to ask me any questions.

Connect with me ➜

Submit Inquiry

Tell us what kind of product you want to import from China. We will assign you an agent to reach out to you in a few hours.

The Newest & Hottest Products In Last Month

All your answers are in Yansourcing’s monthly report last month.
We picked up the most popular items from 1,000+ orders of our clients, to help you find your winning product.

yansourcing monthly report 2023

The Newest & Hottest Products In Last Month

All your answers are in Yansourcing’s monthly report last month.

We picked up the most popular items from 1,000+ orders of our clients, to help you find your winning product.

Note: Your private information will be kept strictly confidential.