Exporters exporting goods to Saudi Arabia are likely required to obtain a SASO Certificate of Conformity for their goods to clear through Saudi customs as part of the Saudi Arabia Conformity Assessment Program.By Bureau Veritas Technical Services 5 minute read
What’s the Product Conformity Program?
Managed by SASO (Saudi Arabia Standards Organization), the Saudi Arabia Conformity Assessment Program is a program through which goods for export to the country undergo a process of conformity evaluation, inspection, and certification before being allowed entry into Saudi Arabia. Implemented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the purpose of the program is to ensure goods exported to Saudi Arabia are safe and suitable for use there.
What’s the Certificate of Conformity?
The CoC (Certificate of Conformity), also referred to as the SASO CoC, is a certificate required for each consignment, or a specific batch, of certain imported goods to clear customs. It confirms the consignment complies with the relevant technical regulations and/or meets SASO’s standards. Once approved, the consignment is deemed safe and suitable for use in Saudi Arabia.
At the time of writing, the following goods are exempted from the requirement:
- Sanitary and phyto-sanitary products
- Sample and demonstration products
- Temporarily imported goods
- Medical goods
- Food products
- Defence products
- Personal shipments
Although the above products are exempted, it is still recommended exporters confirm what are the import regulations with the other ministries of Saudi Arabia.
How To Apply For the Certificate of Conformity
The process of applying for a Certificate of Conformity involves the following stages:
1.During the production stage, the exporter needs to apply to a Certified Body, such as Intertek or SGS, or Accredited Lab to test the products according to SASO standards. A Certified Body is a certification entity accredited by an official accreditation body member in the related international organizations. An Accredited Lab is a laboratory accredited by an accreditation body member in the related international organizations. The Certified Body and the Accredited Lab are authorized to issue the Certificate of Conformity.
2.The consignment undergoes lab testing and analysis according to related technical regulations or standards for that product.
3.An audit is performed on the manufacturing process.
4.A documentation check is conducted.
5.There is an assessment to ensure compliance with applicable standards and regulations.
Once the consignment of goods has been approved, the Certificate of Conformity will be issued by the Certified Body in the product’s country of origin. It must accompany the consignment of goods when shipped to Saudi Arabia. Each consignment must have its own Certificate of Conformity. No two consignments can use the same Certificate of Conformity. The Certificate of Conformity is only valid for a certain period of time, and the expiry date is stated on it.
All goods must also have a non-removable indication of origin. If the indication isn’t placed on them, they will be held until the importer rectifies the issue or provides assurance the matter will not happen again. A fine may be imposed, or the goods may be returned to the country of origin.
The SASO Quality Mark which confirms products conform to Saudi standards.
Costs Related To The Application
There are costs to the application process. They are as follows:
- 1.Fees for receiving and checking SASO-prepared forms from the factory producing the product or any agency distributing it.
- 2.All expenses incurred in relation to technicians and inspectors’ visits to areas of operation for inspection.
- 3.Expenses related to the transportation and inspection of the samples from the factory, agency, or market to the Accredited Lab.
- 4.Cost of examining and testing the samples at the labs.
- 5.Fee for the issuance of additional copies of the Certificate of Conformity in English or Arabic.
Other General Rules:
1.SASO reserves the right to request any report showing the results of lab tests conducted during the production stage of the consignment.
2.SASO has the right to keep samples taken from the consignment.
3.Even though a Certificate of Conformity has been obtained, the producer or distribution company must obtain SASO’s approval on the wording on the advertisement before the Certificate can be advertised.
4.In the event the Certificate is used or advertised without prior approval from SASO, penalties will be applied under Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Commercial Fraud Law and any other relevant regulation.
5.All consumer complaints made against any product from an approved consignment will investigated.
6.SASO retains the right to keep a register of all complaints, disputes, and corrective measures taken. It can also take suitable action to resolve complaints and disputes and document any action taken.