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What is A Certificate of Origin? Form and How to get

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.

If you’re shipping internationally, you may need to get a certificate of origin (COO) for the goods you’re sending.

A COO is often required when the country of origin needs to be known for economic, political, or environmental reasons like if there are import quotas, a boycott, or anti-dumping measures in place.

If you’re shipping between countries that share a trade agreement, a COO proves to the customs authorities that the goods are eligible for reduced import duties or taxes.
Some animal and plant products subject to the CITES agreement also require a certificate of origin.

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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. Coo means shipping, and 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, such as the USMCA.

There are two kinds of certificate of origin:

Non-preferential COO

This means the goods don’t qualify for any special treatment in the country they’re from. It’s only used to state the origin of your goods.


This is for shipments between countries with a trade agreement and proves the goods qualify for reduced import duties.

1. Tax Deduction. It saves you money on duties in case there are any trade agreements between the importing and the exporting countries.

2 . It Provides Protection. CoO can act as proof in case of any Customs audits.

For example, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada, and Mexico ensure that all trading between the 3 countries is duty-free.
So if a US buyer is importing goods from Mexico, by showing the CoO to the US Customs, they no longer need to pay any taxes for that shipment.

man signing documents, two types of stamps at the table

A COO can be required by any country for any product, so it’s important to check with your local chamber of commerce if it’s necessary.

Some international trade relationships that commonly require a certificate of origin are:

i.For shipping from the European Union to a country with an EU trade agreement – use a EUR.1 document or EUR-MED document

ii. For shipping between Canada, the US, and Mexico – use a NAFTA certificate of origin

iii. For shipping between the US, Central America and the Dominican Republic  – use a CAFTA-DR certificate of origin

iv.For shipping to some countries in the Middle East and Africa – a certificate of origin is often required

v.For shipping to some countries in Asia, such as China, India, Malaysia or Singapore – a certificate of origin is often required

a)The exporter’s name and contact information

b)The producer’s name and contact information (if different from exporter)

c)The receiver’s name and contact information

d)A clear goods description including HS code, quantity and weight

e)The country of origin

f)Air waybill number 

g)Means of transport and route details (optional)

h)Remarks (optional)

i)Commercial invoice number(s) and date(s) (optional)

The origin certificate plays a crucial role in transporting items across borders. You can use it as evidence of the country where the product was made. Ensuring that the country of origin is clear and without manipulative attempts is crucial.

If it is obvious which country the goods originate from, the imposition of duties or exemption of the product becomes easy. Additionally, the ability to import goods is crucial. Certain countries do not permit some goods, and there is a serious penalty if you don’t follow these details.

That’s why many parties are participating in international trade and disclosing the country of origin for the products. Officials and consumers who deal with transportation want to know the country of origin for each item.

Most of the time, buyers only require certification from the chamber of commerce. However, in some cases, he may be eligible to use the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) established in some countries. An exact copy of the invoice for commercial transactions must also be available with the certification in granting the certification.

Fill out and notarize the appropriate affidavit; 

Provide a Manufacture Invoice or Commercial Invoice that shows 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). Need help? Reach out to one of our experts to make sure you don’t miss any important documents in the process.

Airsupply is a leading freight forwarder, we focus on air service, feel free to contact us if you need to ship products from China.

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