8 Essential Documents You Should Request from Chinese Suppliers

Read this article to learn about the 8 essential documents from Chinese suppliers that you should ask for to help protect your business.

Requesting documents from Chinese suppliers is important for several reasons. These documents serve as a crucial aspect of due diligence, allowing you to verify the legitimacy and reliability of the supplier. They provide essential information about the supplier’s business, such as its legal status, financial stability, and adherence to quality and ethical standards.

By obtaining and verifying these documents, you can build trust, mitigate risks, and ensure a transparent and compliant business relationship with your Chinese suppliers.

In this blog, we will introduce you to the 8 essential documents you should always request from your Chinese suppliers and explain why they are important.


Table of Contents


Business License


The business license is the basic and most important document that every company in Mainland China must have. It proves that the company is legally registered with the local Administration for Industry and Commerce and has an 18-digit registration number.

Being China’s principle company certificate, it is very widely requested, so any resistance from the Chinese supplier to providing a copy can be a useful early warning sign. Once you receive the certificate make sure you review it carefully.

In addition to finding many fakes, we have also encountered many cases where business licenses from Hong Kong or offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands or Cayman Islands have been provided.


ISO Certificate


An ISO certificate is an international certification standard that shows that a supplier meets the requirements for a quality management system (QMS).

A QMS is a set of policies, processes, and procedures that ensure that a supplier can consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory expectations. The most common ISO certificate for suppliers is ISO 9001, which covers various aspects of quality management, such as customer focus, leadership, process approach, continual improvement, and evidence-based decision making.

An ISO certificate can help you assess the quality standards and performance of your supplier.


Product Test Reports


Product test reports are documents that demonstrate that a supplier’s products have passed certain tests and meet the specifications and standards of the target market. Product test reports can be issued by the supplier itself, a third-party testing agency, or a certification body.

Depending on the type and category of the product, different tests and standards may apply. For example, electrical products may need to comply with CE, UL, or FCC standards, while toys may need to comply with ASTM, EN71, or GB standards. Product test reports can help you verify the quality, safety, and functionality of your supplier’s products.


Quality Management System (QMS) Certificate


A QMS certificate is a document that shows that a supplier has implemented a QMS that meets the requirements of a specific standard or regulation. A QMS certificate is different from an ISO certificate in that it is more specific and industry-related.

For example, a supplier of medical devices may need to have a QMS certificate that complies with ISO 13485, which is a standard for medical device quality management systems. A QMS certificate can help you evaluate the suitability and compatibility of your supplier’s products for your market and industry.


Export License


An export license is a document that authorizes a supplier to export certain products or services to a specific country or region. An export license is issued by the Ministry of Commerce of China or one of its branches.

Not all suppliers need an export license, but some products or services may require one, such as dual-use items, endangered species, cultural relics, or encryption products. An export license can help you confirm that your supplier is legally allowed to export the products or services you need.


Customs Declaration Form


A customs declaration form is a document that declares the details of the goods that a supplier is exporting, such as the description, quantity, value, origin, destination, and tariff classification of the goods.

A customs declaration form is required by the customs authorities of both the exporting and importing countries. A customs declaration form can help you verify the accuracy and completeness of the information provided by your supplier, as well as the customs duties and taxes that may apply to your shipment.


Supplier’s Bank Account Information


A supplier’s bank account information is a document that provides the details of the bank account that a supplier uses to receive payments from customers. A supplier’s bank account information should include the account number, bank name, branch name, SWIFT code, and IBAN number.

A supplier’s bank account information can help you avoid fraud and scams, as well as facilitate smooth and secure transactions. You should always verify the supplier’s bank account information with the information on the business license and the bank account certificate.


Social Compliance Audit Report


A social compliance audit report is a document that evaluates and reports the social and ethical performance of a supplier. A social compliance audit is conducted by an independent auditor that follows a set of international standards, such as SA 8000, SMETA, BSCI, or RJC.

A social compliance audit covers various aspects of labor rights and working conditions, such as wages, benefits, discrimination, health, safety, and environmental impact. A social compliance audit report can help you assess the social responsibility and reputation of your supplier, as well as avoid any legal or reputational risks associated with unethical or illegal practices.

These are the eight essential documents that you should request from Chinese suppliers before placing an order. By requesting and reviewing these documents, you can ensure that you are dealing with reliable and trustworthy suppliers that can provide you with high-quality products and services that meet your expectations and requirements.

If you need any assistance or guidance in shipping products from China, please feel free to contact us. We are a professional international freight forwarding company that can help you with global logistics. We can also help you verify the documents and conduct inspections and audits of your suppliers. Contact us today and let us help you succeed in your sourcing journey.