GOST Certification for UK company

Question posted by Yulia Pochtennova

We are a British company and we plan to sell goods in Russia. We need to get the GOST cetrification for that. Is it correct that there are two ways to obtain it:

-Either our potential customer takes care of GOST free of charge
-Either we apply to certification company and do it for fee?

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Hello Yulia

It is the case that your Russian partner can take care of the certification of your products; indeed in some cases the certification can only be done by a Russian legal entity and you may not be able to obtain it on your own.

The important thing to know here is the fact that Russian customs look at the name to whom the certificate is issued. If the names of the importer and the certificate holder differ, the authorities request confirmation of permission from the certificate holder and in this way you can control your exports to Russia.

From the Russians' point of view it is inconvenient if the manufacturer is also the certificate holder and they would generally leave this work to a supplier only in cases when it costs too much or the process of certification is too difficult.

For this reason, we would advise obtaining documentation in your own name in order to maintain this element of control. Your distributor will always follow their own interests, and these may not necessarily align with yours. Indeed, you may wish further down the line to replace or use different distributor, in which case you are back to square one as far as certification is concerned.

I hope this helps; please get in touch if you would like any further information.

Kind regards

Charles Swain
Albion (Overseas) Ltd
+44(0)1732 783555

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Yulia Belik, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment Russia in Moscow, Russia.

Dear Yulia,

According to Russian Law, about 50% of all products to be sold and/or used in the country require mandatory verification of conformity, i.e. they should be approved by relevant Russian authorities in terms of compliance to national standards. The catalogue of Russian standards can be found at www.gost.ru/wps/portal/pages.en.StandartCatalog. Depending on the nature and application scope of the goods you are planning to ship to Russia, you may need to comply with one or more certification requirements.

It might be often not clear what is required (GOST R Certificates and Declarations or Certificates/Declarations of Conformity to Technical Regulation’s Requirements) until one actually starts the registration process it is highly recommended that UK exporters task their Russian distributors to deal with product registration issues, or hire one of many companies specializing in the product registration and certification.

Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology (Rosstandart)
http://www.gost.ru/wps/portal/pages.en.Main
Russian national standardization body and supervising authority in the field of technical regulation and metrology
Moscow
Tel: +7 (495) 236 03 00
Email: info@gost.ru

Rostest www.rostest.ru (in Russian only)
Moscow
Tel: +7 495 332 9822
E-mail: spravka@rostest.ru ; office@rostest.ru ; info@rostest.ru

SGS– licensed expert organization and accredited certification body listed in the Unified Register of the Customs Union
Camberley, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1276 697664

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Hi again Yulia

Contrary to UKTI’s response, we would absolutely not recommend simply delegating this work to a Russian partner, and I am confused as to why this would even be suggested. I spoke personally on Tuesday with someone who let their distributor obtain a certificate recently and not only did they pay about seven times what we would have quoted them, they have also lost the element of control mentioned in my first response.

Working with your distributor on obtaining certification is an acceptable option, as long as you are completely involved in the process, know exactly what you are getting and how much you are paying in comparison to other alternatives. We would also not recommend hiring one of the many companies specialising in product certification without being particularly vigilant, as we have found that a lack of clear and transparent legislation surrounding the issue of certification has created a situation whereby many companies offer advice on the subject knowing specifically that it is a very difficult area for foreign businesspeople to navigate through. Frequently changing regulations also mean that you have to be very careful you are not receiving out-of-date or inaccurate information.

Please also note that you would not approach Rostest or Rosstandart to obtain certificates. Rosstandart is the state administrative institution monitoring and controlling the regulation of state standards. It has no research centres or laboratories. Rostest is the body that issues certificates according to the Rosstandart system, although today these are issued by the many centres that have a Rostest licence.

Best regards

Charles

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Philip Owen, on behalf of Volga Trader in Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan.

To import goods into Russia, your customer must be registered with the Federal Customs Service. They must pay a small deposit to do this.

However, the goods must be certified, according to requirements which vary by the type of goods or there must be a declaration to say that the goods do not need certification.

Certification costs money, whoever does it.

The simplest way is to allow the importer, who is usually more skilled than you at certification to certify the goods, probably with a lot of help from you. If your product is highly desirable, then the importer may offer to certify the goods for free because, once they hold the certificate, they have an effective monopoly to distribute your goods perhaps for as long as three years. Russia law has very strong IP protection for brands and it will protect your brand from the grey market, even against yourselves if a later supplier does not have the certificate, as Charles says. It your product is less desirable then they may try to take their first profit in the relationship by charging you substantially more than cost for certification. Having said that, UK based certification services also know this and similarly charge very high rates.

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Philip Owen, on behalf of Volga Trader in Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan.

Part 2 as there is a 2000 character limit to answers.

If you organize certification yourself, you can control the destination and ship to multiple distributors, registered as importers, as you please. Given that distribution is not well developed in Russia this is a good policy. It is very easy for the unwary to get stuck with a Moscow based distributor delivering a Belgium sized result in a country with the population of the UK, Germany and the Netherlands combined (& still have some room to spare). Certification with a UK test house can be costly at first glance and sometimes at second glance. Test houses based in Russia are less costly in terms of the initial cash price. However, if you have to fly out to sort out difficulties, the cost advantages narrow. If you are regularly in Russia anyway or you are supported by firms like Charles's or Volga Trader, my firm, it can be less costly overall, particularly if things go wrong. Your name is Russian, so you speak Russian, so the chances of difficulties might be reduced.

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