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Selling to Saudi: combined conformity assessment services for textiles

PCA Newsletters15 Mar 2023

The complexity of Saudi Arabia’s regulatory requirements can be a challenge for exporters. We look at how SGS’s combined PCA testing and certification services can smooth the way.

With the imposition of new trade regulations in Saudi Arabia, SGS has consolidated its services in this area, with strengthened product conformity assessment (PCA) testing and SABER certification for Saudi Arabia now combined. Where there are many product models and styles, and different materials and designs, this service package speeds up the testing period by identifying the optimum number of samples and the most important testing parameters.

This comprehensive service can particularly help suppliers with a large variety of types, makes, styles, brands and source(s) of products, as well as businesses with smaller product lines.

Key features

Under this combined suite of services, the client is assigned a key account manager, who has a direct access to a testing laboratory and our product certification staff throughout the process. The client’s master list of products will be immediately reviewed by the SGS team who will then begin by analyzing the products in terms of:

  • Materials used (make, colors, etc.)
  • Style/model variations
  • Source factory
  • Raw material suppliers
  • Other pertinent factors

All this information is vital for the team to assemble a consolidated list of items to be subjected to the necessary tests, as per the Saudi Arabian regulations.

The client is likewise constantly involved in the process, ensuring that the sample selection is optimal and agreed on by both parties. This close coordination and collaboration leads to faster execution of the necessary testing, speeding up the overall certification process. This approach gives the client an opportunity to optimize testing fees, as specific samples are strategically selected from the long list of items and will represent a number of styles/models.

Complexities of the SASO Technical Regulations (TRs)

The Saudi Arabian authorities (led by SASO1) provide several guidance documents to supplement the actual regulations for textile products to help exporters and importers to understand what is required for products before they arrive on the Saudi market. However, many parts of the SASO technical regulations will require expert interpretation, for a clear understanding of what to do to secure the correct product2 and shipment3 certificates.

The range of textile products and materials, plus their geographical spread in terms of production sites, and the complex raw material supply chains, make it difficult for even large suppliers to precisely pinpoint the optimal testing and certification requirements. It is important to get advice form a trusted supplier that will avoid repeat testing, duplication of work, delays in shipments and consequently, additional costs to the overall SABER certification process.

Equally challenging trade is the technical nature of the requirements. These SASO TRs involve restrictions on the use of toxic and hazardous elements, and chemicals, that could expose users to harm. In-depth knowledge of raw material processing is very important in the final determination of the testing/certification requirements. Likewise, the cited test methodologies within the SAO regulations add to the challenge. High level expertise is a necessity for businesses to enable them to overcome the hurdles of SABER certification for the first time.

Requirements for textile, leather, footwear and accessory products under SASO regulations for textiles

Some of the highlighted (non-exhaustive) parameters required to be tested and certified under the SASO regulations for textile, footwear and accessory products are as follows:

  • pH value
  • Color stability
  • Carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic chemicals (CMR) for production
  • Very toxic chemicals: persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (vPvB) and persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT)
  • Chemicals with permanent and serious effects on humans and the environment
The following harmful chemicals need to be checked to ascertain whether they are within tolerable limits, or are not used on the product:
  • Formaldehyde
  • Pentantachlorophenol (PCP), tetrachlorophenol (TeCP) and orthoPhenylphenol (OPP)
  • Heavy metals, e.g. antimony, arsenic, cadmium, (total) chromium VI, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, and nickel
  • Dye and derived substances (suspected to be hazardous)
    • Carcinogenic amines in azo dyes
    • Suspected carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic dyes during production
    • Flame retardant materials
    • Insecticides, herbicides and fungicides (as applicable)
    • Organic chlorinated compounds
    • Phthalates
    • Organotin compounds


In their current form and shape, the SASO technical regulations for textile products and materials are best interpreted and understood with the help of experts. This SGS one-stop shop service was exclusively developed with this very purpose in mind. You can always be assured of access to SGS expertise at all stages of the SABER certification process. When needed, SGS can even initiate and collaborate discussions with all parties (exporter, importer and with SASO itself) on any technical matter that can lead to the better understanding of the SASO regulations.

Why SGS?

SGS offers a one-stop-shop service, delivering customer focused solutions for testing, inspection and certification.

With more than one hundred years of proven objectivity, reliability, and integrity, SGS is the trusted partner of governments and trade communities, influencing change in opportunities, challenges and productivity. SGS currently delivers conformity assessment programs on behalf of government authorities in various countries such as Saudi Arabia (SASO), Kuwait (PAIKUCAS), Kenya (KEBS), Egypt (GEOIC), Algeria (IANOR), Nigeria (SON), Tanzania (TBS), Uganda (UNBS), Ethiopia and many other countries.

Our extensive experience in managing conformity assessment programs with a network of 2,650 offices and laboratories around the world enables us to offer efficient, comprehensive and tailored solutions to aid exporters and ensure the regulatory conformity of their shipments.

For more details about SGS services, please feel free to contact the SGS office in your country.

Learn more about Saudi Arabia – SASO Certificate of Conformity.

This article can also be found in our PCA Newsletter (Q1/2023) – which keeps you up to date with developments in technical barriers to trade and product conformity assessment.

Read more PCA articles (Q1/2023)

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1 Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO)

2 ‘Product Certificate’ (PC) is the document issued by a SASO-notified conformity assessment body (CAB), upon products conformance to the requirements of the SASO technical regulation/s and all the relevant standards therein.

3 ‘Shipment Certificate’ (SC) is the document issued by the same CAB, every time an actual shipment of the certified product is made. An SC will not be issued unless the corresponding PC is issued ahead.

© SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA. This publication or website is a property of SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA. All contents including website designs, text, and graphics contained herein are owned by or licensed to SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA. The information provided is for technical and general information purposes only and offers no legal advice. The information is no substitute for professional legal advice to ensure compliance with the applicable laws and regulations. All information is provided in good faith “as is”, and SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, and does not warrant that the information will be error-free or meet any particular criteria of performance or quality.

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For further information, please contact:

Gerardo Panopio

Gerardo Panopio

Global Product Conformity Assessment Technical Manager

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