What is a Certificate of Origin?

As defined by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) “a Certificate of Origin (CO) is an important international trade document that certifies that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. They declare the ‘nationality’ of the product and serve as a declaration by the exporter to satisfy customs or trade requirements”.

The ICC also explains that COs might be requested by customs, banks, private stakeholders and importers for several purposes. Many countries in the world require CO for customs clearance procedures: when determining the duty that will be assessed on the goods or, in some cases, whether the goods may be legally imported at all.

The ICC has its own guidelines and formats for the issuance of Certificate of Origins, as an accredited international entity that can issue and attest these documents. Also, governments might have their own requirements regarding what information and how it should be reflected in the CO. Then the United States has customized templates of CO’s applied to certain current trade agreements that you can access on the below link.


When are Certificates of Origin required?

The most common case is when Free Trade Agreement benefits are being applied to import cargo.

The US holds Free Trade Agreements with many countries and most Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have a particular country of origin certificate, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).

These CO’s are required in the customs clearance process when the importer is claiming preferential benefits based on the rules of origin specified on the treaty and validated by the Certificate of Origin.

Benefits of the Certificate of Origin:

Here are some reasons that highlight the importance of the Certificate of Origin:

  • It helps with a smooth customs clearance process for products.
  • It helps products stand apart from the competition.
  • It offers statistical reporting.
  • It offers effective control management for exports and imports.
  • It also helps you find out whether you can export and import certain goods legally.
  • The certificate helps in the proper application of duties.

Bottom Line

Sometimes, transporting your company’s goods may seem quite confusing. You may not know about the paperwork involved in the process or you may be having trouble in determining the best course of action. Our logistics team here at Promptus is here to assist your business in making sure your shipment has the appropriate documents for a smooth shipment ‐ contact us today for a quote.