Certificate of Inspection – Definition

Cite this article as:"Certificate of Inspection – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 17, 2019, last accessed October 25, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/certificate-of-inspection-definition/.


Certificate of Inspection (Perishable Goods) Definition

A certificate of inspection is a document which certifies the good condition of a commodity (especially perishable goods) at the point of analysis or inspection, or prior to shipment. Inspection is carried out when cargos are to be shipped or transported by other means to different countries, especially developing ones. This paper is usually required at ports, and when used as a letter of credit, it is expected to contain the details and identity of the inspection party or officer. If the identity is absent, banks are left with no choice but to accept any document attached to this paper as a certificate of inspection provided by any entity different from the beneficiary.

The Swiss SGS and the French Bureau Veritas among other company that offers cargo inspection are mainly stationed at major exporting countries. These countries take care of cargo inspection and analysis in top Asian production nations like China, Japan, and others.

A Little More on What is a Certificate of Inspection

Most customers would require you to send over a certificate of inspection to verify that the goods were in perfect condition at the time of shipment. Also, when shipping high quality perishable products, one is required to carry out inspections even without a request from the receiver. This way, you can easily proof using the certificate of inspection that the goods you’re delivering are of perfect quality or “delivered as is.”

While it isn’t necessary to conduct inspection, most customers might be adamant and may want you to conduct analysis to prove the quality of the good in question. If this is the case, the seller is not required to cover the cost of the inspection, and this can be added to the buyer’s expenses or receipt. Also, to sustain trust, we recommend that you allow or kindly ask the buyer to provide an inspection company or officer to check the product and send reports. This way, you can avoid any issues that follows in case the good gets damaged by the delivery company. If the buyer doesn’t have an inspection officer, then you can recommend them to any of your trade team (banker, logistics personnel, an account or an attorney).

After inspection, you’re required to send the certificate to the buyer before delivering the shipment. You can send it to the buyer directly, or you can stick to his bank or government. If the document is going to the buyer’s bank, then it’d be regarded as a Letter of Credit for the product. Getting the certificate of Inspection isn’t a hassle, as manufacturers are always ready to provide you with these certificates after inspection.

The Top Global Inspection Firms

Inspection firms have strong connections with different world governments as importing nations are always looking to inspect cargos before they receive them. The top firms that offer global inspection on our list are:

    • French Bureau Veritas Group
    • Cotecna
    • Intertek
    • Swiss SGS

These firms aim to assist you with inspection to make sure that you’re not purchasing damaged products. After inspection, they’d come up with the real value of the goods, to avoid overpaying exporters. And in a case where the exporter is in charge of export fees, you wouldn’t like a situation where you’re refused access to your product due to unpaid dues. Thus, these companies make sure that everything goes smoothly.

List of Nations that Require Pre-Shipment Inspections (PSIs)

Here are a list of countries that require inspections before products are shipped. The list changes yearly, and some countries require that goods be inspected no matter their worth or size. These countries are: Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Kuwait, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and lastly; Uzbekistan.

Alternative or Supporting Documents

There are different certificates that can act as substitute to the certificate of inspection, and we’ve stated the and related instances below.

When exporting agricultural products which are mostly perishable, you’ll need to obtain a federal phytosanitary inspection certificate. This certificate proves that a U.S. shipment containing agricultural products is free of toxic chemicals and suitable for human and animal consumption. The phytosanitary certificate is issued by the U.S. Agricultural Department.

Also, the USDA provides the Export Certificate for Processed Plant Products and the Certificate of Quality and Condition alongside the phytosanitary inspection certificate. The Export Certificate works as a substitute for the phytosanitary inspection certificate in a case where the product is rejected or the phytosanitary certificate cannot be issued. Goods that are eligible for these inspection certificates are: nuts, soy-fortified goods, and seed extracted meals by solvents.

Another certificate that shouldn’t be overlooked is the Certificate of Quality and Condition which is offered by a branch of the USDA known as the Processed Product Branch . This infection certification is issued after an analysis of canned, frozen and dehydrated fruits, vegetables and related agricultural products. The Certificate of Quality and Condition can be gotten on a fee basis, and it can be modified to meet your international exchange desires.

Solutions to Dispute Regarding Certificate of Inspection

In a situation where dispute arises as a result of the inspection outcome, negotiations can be made with the inspection firm. Sometimes, exporters are expected to work with the inspection firms to bring dispute to a halt.

References for Certificate of Inspection




Academic Research for Certificate of Inspection

Consumer assessment of the safety of restaurants: The role of inspection notices and other information cues, Henson, S., Majowicz, S., Masakure, O., Sockett, P., Jones, A., Hart, R., … & Knowles, L. (2006). Journal of food safety, 26(4), 275-301. This study explains the ways of assessment of food safety by the consumers in restaurants and other food centres and the impact of restaurants selection. This research is based on a postal survey and a 2 stage consumer study containing focus groups in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The consumers judge the restaurant hygiene, its overall quality, external information, patronage level and official inspection certificates. The consumer groups use these indicators differently as per age, gender, education level and past incidence relocation, for example, when the food inspection authority closed a restaurant due to food safety conviction.

The Contract of Goods Inspection, Golds̆tajn, A. (1965). Am. J. Comp. L., 14, 383. The autonomous mercantile Law has been named as the Contract of Goods Inspection (CoGI). By law, it is not regulated anywhere. As a result, it has a contestable nature. Occasionally, its few sections are regulated, such as in the United States, section 2-515 Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) or the Czechoslovak International Trade Code (ITC). This is, in fact, a contract between the inspecting institution and the clients where the inspecting organization takes the responsibility of inspecting the quantity and/or quality of goods and then, issuing a certificate if the clients measure up to the requirements.

An analysis of import-export procedures and processes in China, Ramasamy, B. (2010). (No. 88). ARTNeT Working Paper Series. The latest research made by different international organizations (e.g. the World Bank, UNCTAD, ADB and OECD) indicates that administrative and customs procedures leave a substantial impact on trade flows among countries. Such practices and procedures can be regarded as large barriers in global trade. There is nothing surprising that they have drawn the attention of the world, today that quantitative barriers, such as tariffs keep reducing. Being a recognized member of WTO, China makes great progress in the process of trade liberalization. The World Bank ranks China at 47th number in trading across borders. It takes around twenty-one to twenty-four days to import or export.

Quality of Catering Service and Food Safety Administration in Export Processing Zone of Kunshan City [J], Zhi-qiang, B. E. N. (2011). Occupation and Health, 4, 019. This paper aims to evaluate the food safety administration and catering service quality in the export processing region of the Kunshan City. This is done before and after the preparation of data records. The author uses Osculating Value Method (OVM) to examine these two. Then, he standardizes the results of supervision, tableware monitoring, health inspection, coverage, etc. This all was analyzed and the results obtained after the implementation of management mode, quality was much better than before. The record & commitment system changes the workers’ previous fuzzy consumption and moves the holding rate of food delivery up.

Producing to achieve HACCP compliance of fishery and aquaculture products for export, Lupin, H. M. (1999). Food Control, 10(4-5), 267-275. This article reviews the provisions related to compliance and equivalence of regulations on the basis of present EU (European Union) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) for fish products. Fifty percent of the total demand of the USA and EU is for global fish markets. The author brings the quantitative risk assessment under discussion or estimation of risk using some other indirect way. Then, he discusses the HACCP effectiveness, for example, by introducing FSOs (Food Safety Objectives). He explains the performance standards comprising the HACCP regulation of the United States for poultry and meat as the 1st regulatory instance of an FSO.

Certification and Inspection: An Overview of Government Liability, Dombroff, M. A. (1982). J. Air L. & Com., 47, 229. In this paper, the author makes an overview of government liability in terms of certification & inspection. There are many areas which come under the process of certification & inspection by the federal government. They include automobiles, boats, drugs, trains, mines, energy, banks and consumer goods. All of these have been a litigation subject in the past or today, a courtroom battle object. By nature, they are heterogeneous. However, the legal rules related to certification & inspection by the federal government are the same for all of them.

Fruit and vegetable exports: new EC quality inspection rules, Sierra, E. (1994, January). In International Trade Forum (No. 1, p. 22). International Trade Centre. In developing countries, the exporters of fruits & vegetables must know that the European Community (EC) has changed the procedures for fresh produce quality inspection in the market. New provisions were introduced in 1993 and had an impact on many types of fruits & vegetable exports of developing countries to the European Community. As far as the imports of products are concerned, a particular certificate is required. When the shipment is ready by an exporter of the developing country, he has to inform the importer about the exact time and location where the products will arrive. This way, the inspection of fruits & vegetables is possible to be timely performed.

India’s export quality control system, Arora, S. C., & Sierra, E. (1991, October). In International Trade FORUM (No. 4, p. 12). International Trade Centre. If a supplier faces loss in business due to not meeting the quality requirements of the buyer, it not only influences the future exports of the company but also spoils the impression of the exporting country. We can avoid it by adopting effective measures of export quality control at the domestic level that reduces the possibility of nonconformance. Several developing nations have implemented this trick to improve the progress of export trade. India is one of these nations which, in 1963, enforced a comprehensive law to guarantee a reasonable exports quality level. Since then, the infrastructure of India has improved.

The basis and aims of plant legislation, McLAINE, L. S. (1929). Journal of Economic Entomology, 22(3), 449-449. As the plant legislators should get entomological training, likewise, successful implementation of any regulation, except a straight embargo, requires a knowledge of economics, commerce, transportation and business. For all regulations, a scientific background is a must. The plant legislation is considered tough. The suggested solution is the provision of proper inspection services around the world, so that all exports may come with a clean bill of real value health. The author provides a brief overview of the latest reorganized service in Canada which deals with import/export of plants and plant-related products shipments.

The effect of quality on corn export price determination, Mercier, S., Lyford, C., & Oliveira, V. (1994). Review of Agricultural Economics, 16(2), 239-247. This paper evaluates the price formation of corn exports of the United States, following the hedonic approach which treats a product as a bundle of specifiable quality attributes. For these attributes, estimation can be made as individual implicit prices. This paper uses a rich data set containing price & quality data of the transaction level for the corn exports of the United States for 2 years. The author finds important implicit valuations for the main quality factors among corn importers for the usage of feed and corn importers for industrial usage. He suggests that various end-uses influence how users undertake corn imports.

The management of import and export seafood safety and quality in China, Hongbing, W., Yuhong, Z., & Qiang, L. (2007). In Sixth World Congress on Seafood Safety, Quality and Trade (p. 85). This paper highlights the management systems that ensure the quality and safety of seafood imports and exports of China. Food safety includes the admin arrangements and legal framework. Food safety is a common problem for the international community. Global cooperation is must for the facilitation in the international trade and guarantee of seafood quality that the relevant products will be safe and hygienic for the consumers.


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