What is a Certificate of Origin (CO)?
A certificate of origin or CO is a document issued by an exporter and used in international trade transactions to authenticate that the product sold or shipped was manufactured in a particular country.
This document ultimately contains information regarding the product, its destination, and the country of export. A CO is required by many treaty agreements for cross-border trade, as it helps determine whether certain goods are eligible for import, or whether they are subject to duties.
Can I send a commercial invoice or packing list instead of a CO?
No. Customs officials expect the Certificate of Origin to be its own document, separate from the commercial invoice and the packing list. They also expect a CO to be signed by the exporter, which must be notarized. Additionally, the document must be signed by the acting chamber of commerce in that country. Sometimes, the destination customs officials may request additional proof of review from a specific chamber of commerce.
Are there any specific requirements for a certificate of origin?
While many countries do not have specific requirements for a certificate of origin, other countries demand strict format and content, third-party certifications, and more. These forms are submitted to customs at the destination as proof of country of origin. This often results in preferential treatment, due to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which in this case, lowers the duties if the origin and destination companies partake in it.
What is a Country of Origin?
Country of Origin is a term referring to the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. Some terms may apply as a result of international policy, such as the USMCA and others.
Even if only part of the manufacturing or assembly takes place in a certain country, the product may be considered to be from that origin. For more information, read Rules of Origin.
How do Free Trade Agreements (FTA) affect the need for a Certificate of Origin?
FTA’s between the U.S. and other countries may require a specific form to be issued by the exporter, as additional proof of origin. This is specifically done so that Customs can indicate the qualification of goods for preferential duty rates.
How can I get a Certificate of Origin?
- Fill out and notarize the appropriate affidavit
- Provide a manufacture invoice or commercial invoice that show where the goods have been manufactured
- Fill out a Certificate of Origin document
- Submit the notarized affidavit and Certificate of Origin, and other invoices to your local chamber of commerce (make sure to indicate which documents you need to get stamped)