In international trade transactions, a Certificate of Origin, or CO, is a document issued by the exporter and is the authentication that a product was manufactured in a certain country. The document also contains information regarding the product, its destination, and the country of export. A CO is required by many treaty agreements for cross-border trade and can help determine if your goods are eligible for import and to what extent they are subject to duties.
Yes, it is mandatory, and Customs officials expect that the CO will be its own document, separate from the commercial invoice and the packing list. They also expect a CO to be signed by the exporter and then notarized as well as signed by the acting chamber of commerce in that country. Sometimes, Customs officials may request additional proof of review from a specific chamber of commerce.
While many countries do not have specific requirements for a CO, others 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 if the two countries hold a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In this case, import taxes and duties will be lowered.
Free Trade Agreements between the United States and other countries oftentimes require additional proof of origin from the exporter. This is specifically done so that the Customs authority can indicate the qualification of goods for 'preferential' duty rates under any Free Trade Agreement, as the USMCA.
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 form;
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).
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