Export Documentation

Certificate of Origin

Of the vast array of trade documents used in international business, the Certificate of Origin is one of the more straightforward and easier documentary requirements to understand.  It affirms that a manufactured product or commodity was produced or processed in a particular country. Even if the item is shipped from a business in a different country, the CO verifies where it originally came from. Swiftdox offers a streamlined, online platform to obtain an electronic Certificate of Origin or an expedited paper certificate.

Apply for a COO Online

What is a Certificate of Origin?

Certificates of Origin are required documentation by certain countries. Although this important international trade document does not have a standardized format, ordinary Certificates of Origin contain basic information:

  • - Names and addresses of the exporter and importer
  • - A detailed description of the goods
  • - Harmonized System tariff classification code
  • - Country where the product originated and was processed, produced, or wholly obtained

When Is a Certificate of Origin Required?

For trade facilitation, most countries require Certificates of Origin to clear the goods through customs. Without it, you run the risk of a delayed shipment.

Customs authorities in the destination country examine the document to verify that the goods shipped are legally imported, to calculate the duty rate on a particular export shipment, and to support any free trade agreements in place.

Are There Multiple Types of Certificates of Origin?

Non preferential Certificates of Origin are often referred to as ordinary Certificates of Origin. They are used when no trade agreements are in place to request preferential treatment or reduced tariffs from a customs authority. They are usually separate from other shipping documents, such as a commercial invoice, and a sample origin template for this international certificate can be found online.

Preferential COs declare that the products in the shipment qualify for preferential duty rates in the importing country. The preference criteria depend on the countries extending the tariff reductions according to the free trade agreements in place.

The United States and other countries, including the European Union, give preferential status to multiple developing countries to promote their economic development. Duties on many products produced by these countries have been eliminated.

At present, the United States has agreements for free trade in force with 20 countries. Some of these importing countries may require a specific form for preferential COs.

Depending on the destination of your individual shipment, you might be required to furnish various preferential or non preferential COs. There's no singular resource to reference which format or additional certifications are required for specific international trade. If you are confused or have questions, please get in touch with us so we can guide you.

What Has Replaced the Previous NAFTA Certificate of Origin?

The North American Free Trade Agreement that was used by Canada, Mexico, and the United States was replaced on July 1, 2020, by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

As a result, the old NAFTA Certificate of Origin that required a special format is no longer valid. Instead, a new origin document attesting to nine required data elements is used to determine if the goods qualify for preferential duty rates under the USMCA.

This new USMCA Certificate of Origin does not require a separate document or origin form as long as the nine data points are included. On shipments with values below a certain amount, the statement of origin can even be included on the commercial invoice or another document, such as the packing list, as long as it contains all nine points.

The importer must present the legibly completed document at the time of declaration in order to obtain any preferential tariff treatment.

Although USMCA certificates of origin can apply to a single shipment, they can also be used for a blanket period of up to 12 months to cover multiple shipments.

Where Can You Obtain a Certificate of Origin?

In order to obtain a certificate of origin, you will need to contact your local Chamber of Commerce for stamping certificates, the U.S. Commercial Services in the International Trade Administration, or our expert Swiftdox website and export specialists.

As the exporter, you can create your own Certificate of Origin and take it with the supporting documents to your local Chamber of Commerce. An authorized chamber representative will certify the certificate with the chamber's official embossing stamp. Make sure that the Chamber of Commerce organization you use is accredited by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Our Official Website Offers Electronically Signed Required Documentation Online

With the Swiftdox platform, we are in the unique position of offering electronic certificates of origin in less than a day or an expedited paper certificate overnight through our Chamber of Commerce partners. You fill out a few simple online forms, enter your product information, and upload corresponding invoices and other supporting documents.

Our cutting-edge security utilizes legal and trusted digital signatures and revolutionary blockchain technology. You can be sure that your electronic certificate stamped by one of our authorized partners meets all documentary requirements for the Certificate of Origin needed for exports.

Get started with your Certificate of Origin by opening a free online account and registering your company with any of our partner chambers that issue export certificates to clear foreign customs with the ability to request Apostille or Legalization service:

  • The Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
  • The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
  • The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce
  • Modesto Chamber of Commerce
  • Charleston Chamber of Commerce
  • Birmingham Business Alliance

Visit our website today and learn how you can save valuable time and money with the Swiftdox solution.

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