Inspection Certificate: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Before you import from China, you need an inspection certificate.

Without it, some countries will not allow products within their jurisdictions.

Below are critical aspects you must know about inspection certificates.

What is an Inspection Certificate?

An inspection certificate refers to a trade document that certifies the conformity of goods to terms stated in a sales contract.

It ensures that the quality, quantity, import eligibility, price of goods for customs purposes, and tariff classifications are appropriately met.

An inspection certificate is mainly issued by an inspection company and does not apply to all types of goods.

Some of the goods that might need an inspection certificate include perishable items and industrial equipment among others.

Sample of inspection certificate

What is the Importance of Inspection Certificate in Import-Export Business?

An inspection certificate otherwise referred to as pre-shipment inspection certificate is important in the import-export business in the sense that;

  • Guarantees quality of goods – All goods are thoroughly inspected to meet the desired quality expected not only by the importer but also by the consumer.
  • Ensures that the quantity of the goods is as stated in the sales contract.
  • An inspection certificate serves as a piece of evidence for any future claims by a 3rd party.
  • Reduces risks associated with imports and exports such as frauds.
  • An inspection certificate prevents the use of fake transport documents such as the Bill of lading.

Who Issues Certificate of Inspection when Importing from China?

An inspection certificate is issued by a general inspection company. Some of the inspection companies that issue inspection certificates in China include;

What Details should Inspection Certificate have?

Some of the contents that an inspection certificate has are not limited to;

  • Date of issue
  • Date of inspection
  • Place of inspection
  • Applicant contact details
  • The country of origin
  • The description of the goods
  • Number and date of the pro forma invoice
  • The insurance policy number
  • Number of packages
  • The number and date of the bill of lading
  • The gross weight
  • Port of discharge
  • Contact details of the supplier
  • The code number of the custom tariff
  • Type of packing
  • Place of issue
  • The name and signature of the authorized person

How do you Know the Authenticity of Inspection Certificate?

Before purchasing your products, making sure that they are certified is a key factor.

However, when importing from China, you should beware of fake certificates.

This includes fake inspection certificates.

For you to authenticate your inspection certificate here are some tips you might consider;

A real certificate will be issued in PDF format.

  • Any other certificate issued as .doc, .jpeg, .png, or scanned document should be an alarming factor.
  • Do your research – By this, I mean contact your inspection company and request to verify the certificate from their online database. Note; not all companies will agree to participate in this. Therefore it’s also crucial to wisely choose the inspection company you are working with.
  • Alternatively, you can easily do your research on Google and confirm if your inspection company is certified.

As the buyer, most of the responsibility is inclined to you.

Therefore, make sure that you have the right documents to avoid any risks afterward.

What is the need of Pre-shipment Inspection?

Pre-shipment inspection refers to inspecting goods before the actual shipment begins.

It confirms that the goods in question have met the terms as stated in the sales contract.

Here are some reasons why pre-shipment inspection might be of great importance to you;

  • A pre-shipment inspection confirms that the products are in good condition and without any malfunctions.
  • Ensures that your goods have met the expected quality as well as quantity.
  • A pre-shipment inspection also issues reports for billing as well as import.
  • Your product safety should be one of the most important factors to consider. A pre-shipment inspection will ensure that your goods have met the required safety standards for the market.

What Types of Inspection do you need when Importing from China?

When importing from China, there are several inspections that you need to conduct.

Investing some little cash in the inspection procedures might save you from risks as well as inconveniences later on.

Quality and safety inspections are one of the most important types of inspections for any importer to invest in.

Here are four main types of quality inspections you will need when importing from China;

· Pre-shipment Inspection (PSI)

As the name implies, pre-shipment inspection is conducted after the production process has been completed.

· Pre-Production Inspection (PPI)

Pre-production inspection otherwise referred to as Initial Pre-production Checks is carried out before the production process commences.

The materials, as well as components used in the production of your goods, are tested to ensure that they meet your requirements.

· Container Loading Check (CLC)

Soon after your goods have been produced and loaded into containers, a container loading check will be conducted.

Its main purpose is to check that the packaging materials, barcodes as well as labeling are as per your requirements.

· During Production Check (DUPRO)

Performing early checks on your goods are important as such will prevent you from experiencing delays and other inconveniences later.

For this, you will need to perform a During Production Check (DUPRO).

As compared to other inspections, during production check inspection is carried out while goods are still in the manufacturing process.

For this to be carried out, 10% to 50% of your goods should be completed and packaged.

Components are then picked randomly and tested to ascertain if they meet your product specifications.

Is there a Specific Inspection Certificate Format for Export in China?

Yes, there is.

Inspection certificates for export in China have a specific format as they are also different from other export documents.

When should you Request for Third-Party Inspection Certificate in Import-Export Business?

SGS Inspection certificate

You can request for a third party Inspection during the production stages or before packaging of goods.

A third party inspection is carried out by an inspection company to ensure that the quality, safety as well as performance standards are complied to.

This is an ideal option if you want a thorough inspection without having to travel to China.

However, most if not all inspection companies request upfront payment.

Your inspection company will either provide you with a “pass, fail, or pending answer after conducting the inspection.

There are several third-party inspection companies in China and making use of them might save you big time from the unforeseen risks.

What is included in the Report after a Third Party Inspection?

After the inspection is finalized, the inspection company will submit a report regarding the inspection conducted.

The report should include the following;

  • The number of shortcomings found in inspected components.
  • The type of defects found in the inspected units
  • The total amount of the finished and packed goods in the factory. This will ensure that your order quantities, as well as production timelines, are met.
  • Photos of the inspected goods, test results together with any other findings
  • Safety, performance, and functionality results for any on-site testing.

Third-party inspectors are there to represent you when visiting the factory and should not have any form of relationship with the staff.

Failure to this might result in integrity issues.

Is there a Validity Period for Certificate of Inspection?

Yes, there is.

The validity period of a certificate of inspection is 5 years after which you will be required to apply for a new one.

Keep in mind that you might be denied the certificate of inspection if by chance your products fail to have maintained the required standards.

Are there Countries that don’t Require a Pre-Shipment Inspection Certificate?

Yes, there are.

However, most if not all countries advocate for a pre-shipment inspection certificate.

Some of the countries that require a pre-shipment inspection certificate include;

Cambodia, Kenya, Iran, India, Indonesia, Congo (Brazzaville), Niger, Senegal, Togo, Mexico, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Mali, Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Benin, Guinea, Mozambique, Cameroon and Comoros among many others.

Are all Certificate of Inspection the Same?

Not all certificates of inspection are the same.

There are different types of inspections available and therefore the tests and reports vary from one inspection to the other.

Some of these inspections include;

  • Pre-production inspection
  • Pre-shipment inspection
  • Container Loading Supervision
  • Post shipment inspection
  • During production inspection

When is Inspection Certificate Issued?

An inspection certificate is issued after completion of a related inspection certifying that the goods meet the stated requirements.

In addition to that, the inspectors also take part in the signing of the inspection certificate.

Which Inspection Companies should you Hire when Importing from China?

There are several inspection companies you could choose to hire from China.

Therefore, coming up with your ideal choice might seem quite challenging.

Nevertheless, here are some inspection companies from China that you might consider;

  • Quazoom
  • SGS
  • Bureau Veritas InSpec
  • Bay Source Global
  • KRT Audits
  • V-Trust
  • Asia Quality Focus
  • InTouch Manufacturing Services
  • QUIMA
  • Sofeast Limited

How do you Control Quality when Importing from China?

Importing from China does not guarantee you quality products.

China is a massive manufacturing hub and you shouldn’t be surprised encountering both quality and fake products.

The existence of fake products is one of the main issues that discourage most first time importers.

Quality issues can range from;

  • Substandard products
  • Damaged products
  • Wrong color of items
  • Substandard packaging
  • Cosmetic defects

To avoid falling into such, here are some ways you could control the quality when importing from China;


Quality control elemtnts

  • Conduct Quality Inspection –Use quality inspecting agents to ensure that your products meet your required quality standards.
  • Work with a certified and reputable manufacturer – With a certified manufacturer, you are guaranteed of quality products as compared to dealing with an uncertified manufacturer.

Most if not all reputable companies will always focus on maintaining their clients.

Therefore, to match this, they ensure that the products manufactured are of high quality as expected.

  • Work with sourcing agents and freight forwarders –This mostly comes through for newbies in the import/export industry.

Sourcing agents and freight forwarders know the best manufacturers and suppliers in the market.

Therefore, working with them will not only lower risks associated with fake products but also scammers.

  • Inform your manufacturer that you work with quality inspection agents –This will ensure that your manufacturer doesn’t compromise with the quality of your products.
  • Purchase products under a contract –By so doing, your manufacturer will be geared towards maintaining the required quality standards without failure.
  • Specify your product requirements –Never assume that the manufacturer knows what they’re doing.

Always make sure that you specify each of your requirements such as color, sizes, and materials to avoid disappointments later.

What other Document do you need alongside Inspection Certificate in Export-Import Business?

In the Export-import business, you should be prepared to have proper documentation for your goods.

Apart from an inspection certificate, other shipping documents that will be crucial are not limited to;

Import Export Documents

  • Bill of lading –A bill of lading is a trade document that described the quantity, destination, and type of goods. Additionally, it is used as a shipment receipt once the goods arrive at the destination.
  • Insurance Certificate –An insurance certificate confirms that the goods are protected against loss or damage. All information regarding the insurance coverage of goods is stated in the insurance certificate.
  • Import/export license – These two documents confirm that your goods have been granted permission to be imported or exported into and out of a country.
  • Test report – A test report approves that your goods have been tested and they meet the required standards.

How can you Solve Quality Inspection and Certification Disputes?

First, you can solve quality inspection and certification disputes by submitting the product samples to a third party.

This method shall be unbiased for both the importer and the exporter.

The third-party method could involve conducting a third party inspection or simply through mediation.

Quality inspection and certification disputes can also be solved through arbitration and litigation.

Arbitration involves the disputing parties choosing an arbitrator who will decide on their fate in a binding, unbiased, and confidential manner.

If the disputes get out of hand, another way to solve it would be through a court (Litigation).

With this method, the judge will listen to both parties and decide on the case.

What is the Cost of the Inspection Certificate in China?

You are bound to spend from $268 onwards per single man day of work.

Remember, additional costs such as transport costs might be incurred.

Therefore, the prices might fluctuate due to a couple of factors including the type of product.

A product with a complex production process would require extensive inspection and therefore you are likely to spend more.

However, if this seems out of your budget, you can choose the easy and cheaper way;

Request your supplier to send you as many photos and live videos. Also, request them to send you a product sample.

Also, when making your purchases, ensure that your risks are minimized.

Is Certificate of Conformity the same as Inspection Certificate?

Yes, it is. Both certificates are issued to certify that the goods in question meet the required terms stated on the sales contract.

Which kind of Check does a Quality Inspector do?

A quality inspector is expected to do all kinds of tests and checks on the product.

The types of tests done will vary depending on the type of product. Some of the tests include;

  • Packaging test
  • Drop test
  • Water pressure test
  • Labeling test
  • Function tests
  • Wear and tear tests
  • Visually look for any damage or defect on the product
  • Material test

Is there a Process for Arranging a Quality Inspection in China?

Yes, there is. After identifying your preferred inspection company all you have to do is inform them of your requirements.

Here are some of the important items to highlight.

  • Your supplier’s or manufacturer’s contact and location details
  • Description of your products. You may send them photos as well as videos for extra clarification.
  • Describe the quantities that are being produced.
  • Description of the packaging and labeling
  • Outline your quality standards.

While doing this, it’s advisable to provide a physical sample as it will enhance the accuracy of the entire process.

At BanSar, we will help you meet your quality requirements when importing from China.

Contact us today for faster quality verification and issuance of inspection certificate.

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