Certificate of Origin
A certificate of origin (CO) is a document that specifies the country in which a commodity or good was produced. The product, its destination, and the country of export are all listed on the certificate of origin. A product may be labeled “Made in the USA” or “Made in China,” for example.
The CO is a critical form since it helps customs officials evaluate whether particular goods are allowed for import or whether they are subject to duties. It is required by numerous treaty agreements for cross-border trade, also referred to as Free Trade Agreements.
The CO is frequently mandated by importing countries and included in trade agreements since it is used to assess the appropriate import tax, if one is applicable.
A CO can be printed or stored electronically, and it must be approved by the appropriate chamber of commerce or customs body at origin.
Understanding Origin Certificates
The CO is a separate document from the commercial invoice or packing list.
Customs officials at the port of destination may require that the CO is signed and stamped by a combination of the following at origin:
- the exporter
- a notary at origin
- a chamber of commerce at origin
- the diplomatic mission at origin representing the destination country
- a government body at origin to endorse the credentials of the above
- the origin customs authority
- destination customs authority may ask a specific chamber of commerce for proof of review
Chambers of commerce normally only certify information which they can verify.
If the chamber is unable to verify commercial details that presented, it will only attest to the signatory’s position and identity.
The proof of review is often the chamber’s official embossing stamp and the signature of a chamber representative. More and more countries now accept electronically signed certificates of origin issued by a chamber of commerce.
A buyer’s documentary requirements listed in a letter of credit may also include a certificate of origin. Additional certifications or language within the letter of credit may be required in order for the certificate of origin to meet the stated standards.
You can submit the needed documentation online and receive an electronic certificate stamped by a chamber of commerce in less than a day. An expedited paper certificate maybe available overnight with an electronic certificate of origin (eCO).
The certificate of origin is then presented at the time the export customs declaration is made at origin. It is also then presented when the corresponding import customs declaration is made at destination.
This process relieves the importer of duties which would otherwise be payable upon importation of the goods concerned.
The amount of detail required on the CO varies depending on the type of goods being exported and the destination.
Two Types of CO
Non-preferential and preferential COs are the two types of COs. The non-preferential CO is a document which attests to the origin of the goods. The preferential CO attests to the applicability of a Free Trade Agreement to the goods in question.
Trade Agreements and Certificates of Origin
Free trade agreements exist between:
- a single country and another single country e.g. Japan – Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA)
- multiple countries e.g. United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA)
- a single country and a supranational body e.g. EU Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA)
- a supranational body and another supranational body e.g. European Economic Area (EEA)
both and other countries may require the exporter to issue a certain form as proof of origin in order for products to qualify for preferential tariff rates.
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), formulated during the 60s and early 70s to support the economic development of disadvantaged countries, reduces taxes on thousands of products imported from over a hundred countries with preferential status into the United States.
The European Union and countries all around the world have their own versions of a GSP, which are primarily designed to promote economic growth through trade with friendly countries.
The links below provide lists of both multilateral and bilateral trade agreements.
How to Get a Paper Origin Certificate
- Fill out an appropriate affidavit and have it notarized.
- Provide a manufacture invoice or a commercial invoice that identifies the location where your goods are made.
- Complete the certificate of origin form.
- To your chamber of commerce, provide a notarized affidavit, a certificate of origin document, and the accompanying invoices.
- Make a list of the documents you’d like to get stamped.
Stamping certificates of origin normally comes with a price, however, if you’re a member, that fee may be waived. This is a perk for joining the organization.
Let us assist you. Our COO framework helps you to get and manage FTAs certificates and renewals. Reap the savings from the reduction of tariffs so you can have a competitive advantage.