When you import products from Asia, Latin America, or anywhere else, you must ensure that you follow all regulations relevant to your product.
You also need to be sure that you include any documentation required for customs clearance. If you are importing to the US, this can include a General Certificate of conformity (GCC). You must provide this document if requested by customs or the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Here we discuss what a GCC is, what types of products it is required for, and how to get one.
What is a General Certificate of Conformity?
A GCC is a document issued by an importer or manufacturer to show that the goods in their shipment comply with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
A GCC is required for certain general use products that are not intended for children. The CPSC provides a list of all the products that require a GCC on their website. Importers or manufacturers that ship these products into the United States must support their GCC with records obtained from a reasonable testing program. They must provide all test results in English.
Federal law requires importers to provide a copy of the GCC to the CSPC and the commissioner of customs upon request. The certificate can be issued either in print form accompanying the shipment or in electronic form, with a link to it included on the invoice. If you issue it in electronic form, you must ensure that it is easily accessible to avoid unnecessary delays at the US Customs & Border Protection facilities.
Is a GCC Required for My Product?
Not all products require a GCC. You only need it if your product is listed on the United States CPSC website. Some of the products that require a GCC include bicycle helmets, cigarette lighters, garage door openers, carpets and rugs, mattresses, and fireworks. Here is a comprehensive list of products that require a GCC.
What is the Difference Between a GCC and a Children’s Product Certificate?
A GCC certificate is issued to show compliance for general use, non-children’s products. A Children’s Product Certificate, on the other hand, is required to show that children’s products meet the applicable product safety rules.
A Children’s Product Certificate is dependent on test results from a CPSC-approved lab and must be in English. While the GCC is only required for certain products, a Children’s Product Certificate is mandatory for all children’s products.
How do You Get a General Certificate of Conformity?
A GCC is prepared by the person importing goods from overseas or by the manufacturer for goods produced domestically. The legal responsibility for issuing a GCC falls on the importer or manufacturer even if a third party, such as a laboratory, has been involved in drafting the document.
If you are importing products made overseas, this is something that you don’t “get” from another entity. Instead, it is a document that you must create yourself.
Here is a General Certificate of Conformity Sample
There is no specific format for a GCC, and the manufacturer or importer can prepare one on their computer as long as it includes all elements. These include:
- Identification of the product
- Citation to the safety regulation to which the product is being certified
- Identification of the importer/ manufacturer
- Contact information
- Date and place of product manufacture
- Date and place for product testing
Here is a General Certificate of Conformity sample from the CPSC website.
Testing Your Products
The CPSC requires that importers and manufacturers of general use non-children’s products carry out a ‘reasonable testing program‘ to meet consumer product safety rules. Currently, no regulations specify the requirements for a reasonable testing program for general products.
However, the CPSC indicates that such testing should provide a high degree of assurance that the product meets the set safety standards. Testing for general non-children’s products can be carried out by any laboratory, whether in-house or a third party.
For children’s products, however, testing must be carried out by a CPSC accepted laboratory. The certificate is then based on successful test results for samples of each product.
Even if the foreign manufacturer has tested the product, the importer must issue their own product certificate. However, they can base it on the manufacturer’s test results according to 16 CFR part 1109. You can search for CPSC-accepted laboratories here.
Additionally, Insight offers testing management services together with our partner CPSC-accepted labs. If you are in need of these services, feel free to reach out to us.
Lab Testing: How to Get Started
As a consumer product importer, lab tests help you ensure that your products are compliant with regulations in the country of importation.
We’ve put together this guide to help you get started with lab testing so that you can make your products available for sale sooner rather than later. Avoid fines and customs issues by starting off on the right foot.
Please Note: This article was originally published in August 2020 and was updated in May 2021