Certification requirement is one of the most critical items to confirm prior to exportation. The EU is well-known for its CE-mark, but less people have heard about China’s equivalent to the CE-mark. In this article I present China’s certification mark, the CCC-mark, that complies to a lot of products sold in China.
The CCC mark
Since 2002, CCC has been the mandatory certification mark for a wide range of products on the Chinese market. In order to get the CCC-mark, you must undergo the following processes:
- Inspection of your factory
- Follow-up inspections of your factory
- Verified testing of your products (Your products to be sent to authorized laboratories in China).
It doesn’t matter if you are Chinese and have your production in Shanghai, or Spanish and have your production in Valencia – if your products will be sold on the Chinese market and listed with an HS code (Harmonized system), you need to apply for the CCC-mark. The HS codes are used globally, but can differ from country to country.
A failure to use correct HS codes can lead to seized goods by the Chinese customs. But it can take some time for the customs to discover the error, it’s not always spotted from the first delivery. Though it’s risky and can, if recognized by the Chinese customs, end up in penalties and long and costly disputes. And it doesn’t stop here. A failure to use correct HS-codes can result in wrongly paid tariffs and you might end up with debts to be paid to the Customs.
Product categories who requires a CCC
The CCC-mark is required for over a hundred product categories. To obtain more information about the categories you can visit CNCA’s website. CNCA is an abbreviation for the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China, the agency who administrates the CCC mark. Let us continue and present 21 of the product categories who need the certification:
- Electrical wires and cables.
- Switches for circuits, Installation protective and connection devices.
- Low-voltage Electrical Apparatus.
- Small Power motors.
- Electric tools.
- Welding machines.
- Household and similar electrical appliances.
- Audio and video apparatus.
- Information technology equipment.
- Lighting apparatus.
- Telecommunication terminal equipment.
- Motor vehicles and Safety parts.
- Motor vehicle tires.
- Safety Glasses.
- Agricultural Machinery.
- Latex Products.
- Medical Devices.
- Fire Fighting Equipment.
- Detectors for Intruder Alarm Systems.
- Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) systems.
Complications with a missing CCC-certificate
If your products don’t comply with Chinese quality standards (i.e if a CCC certificate is missing) you might face serious issues with the Chinese Customs. In the worst case, your goods is seized or demolished. It sometimes happens that exporters receive penalties as well. In addition, the Customs sometimes detains goods and states that a CCC-certificate is needed for products that are not obliged to carry the CCC-mark.
It’s not hard to imagine the frustration these business owners feel. Luckily, there are ways to solve issues with seized goods. There are two options: You can either provide the documents missing, contact a third party and request help or apply for a so called CIQ-declaration. The latter one can be obtained with support from a third party as well.
If you have the experience and confidence to export commodities to China by yourself, then do it. But to communicate with the Chinese Customs is not always easy and clearance of goods can be a hard task. I recommend you to hire a third party if you don’t have sufficient experience, it often pays off in the end.
Exemption from the CCC-mark
There are regulations that states that exemptions can be made from including the CCC-mark. However, the application process takes time and is not always granted. The exemptions can be made under the following conditions:
- If the products are used for scientific purposes and product testing.
- Products to be displayed at trade fairs.
- Products that are used to build a production line.
- Products processed in China and, as part of a larger product, exported again.
- Spare parts to be used by the consumer.
- Small volume exemption under specific pre-approved circumstances.
The application for exemption is managed by the importer and submitted to the local CIQ office directly.
Application & fees
The application process is quite straight forward, but the time and costs are determined from the type of products you export:
- Application fees
- Products sent and tested in authorized laboratories.
- Factory inspections.
- Travel costs and other costs for Chinese officials that visit your factory.
- Fees for the administration and permission of printing of the CNCA.
To apply for certifications is in general pricey, no matter what country we look at. You might end up with a total cost of 10000 Euro or more in order to get a CCC-mark. Bear in mind that the costs increase if you decide to hire a third party.