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Why TÜV does not recognize CME certification of my supplier?

We have received a question regarding certification discrepancy and our compliance expert Angie gave answer. We share an extract of the Q&A here.

Question: Why TÜV does not recognize CME certification of my supplier?

Dear EU-REP Service team,

I have a question regarding certification compliance.

We asked our supplier in China to do an ATEX certification, their service agency recommended ECM. Since their products are matched with other companies, they took a sample certificate to SÜD TÜV to evaluate, as we want the products to be certified by TÜV. Then TÜV China told my supplier that ECM was blacklisted and did not recognize their certificates at all.

I checked the Notified Body list in EU official website, and see ECM is still listed there.

Can you tell me what’s going on here? My supplier said they just wanted to get a certificate without factory inspection. They said ECM provides the lowest price in the market. But neither they nor I didn’t expect it to be not recognized by my peers.

Answer from EU-REP-Service compliance expert Angie:

Thank you for your inquiry.  This is an interesting question.

Based on the EU compliance framework, the certification that is issued by ECM is valid.  The point why TÜV did not recognize the ECM certificate is based on the scope of inspection and risk of the test.

ECM sells a lot of certificates without testing in China, which is 2- or 3-times lower price than the big player such as TÜV or SGS.   However, people in the branch would easily tell, their certificates are just signed papers in most of the case, that means mostly a reliable test was not done before their certificate was issued. Many Chinese suppliers would just choose this short cut to get a certificate as ECM has the “qualification” and is very quick and low cost to issue one.  So when you check the Notified Body list, CE 1282 has not been cancelled, but their certificates are not generally recognized by their peers, as the peers such as TÜV are not willing to take the risk.

As you mentioned, ATEX certification for explosion-proof products have generally very high risk and require substantial handling of trustworthy inspection and test.  Once the products are fully certified, they must be used in dusty environments, gas stations, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, mines, and other places. We truly understand why TÜV would not recognize CME certificate without testing or auditing the factory by themselves.

In summary, for high-risk products, there is a reason why the big players only recognizes their own certificate.