Country of Origin Certificate: Everything You Need to Know

Mar 16, 2023 - Views: 203

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The country of origin certificate (COO or CO) is necessary to document confirming the product's country of origin. It supports the clearance process when importing goods. 

Let's continue reading this article to understand this document type with useful information fully.

What is country of origin certificate?

What is country of origin certificate?

What Is the Country of Origin Certificate?

To start with, it’s crucial to find out “what is country of origin certificate”. 

It’s international trade documents certifying that the goods, particularly exporting shipments, were wholly produced, sourced, or processed in a specific country.

They declare the product's "nationality" and serve as the exporter's declaration to meet trading requirements or customs.

The COO country of origin certificate also contains information about the product, such as its destination and the exporting country.

For instance, products may be marked "Made in China" or "Made in the USA."

Country of origin certificate definition

Country of origin certificate definition

The country of origin certification is important to form since it's required in cross-border trade agreements and helps determine whether the particular commodity is eligible for import or is subject to customs duties.

What Is the Importance of the Country of Origin Certificate?

If you are shipping to international zones, you may need a country of origin or COO certificate for your shipping items.

It attests to the product's origin, which serves as the foundation for determining the tariffs and other trade restrictions that will be applied.

When shipping between countries sharing trade agreements, the CO certifies to customs that the goods are eligible for reduced taxes or import duties.

Plant and animal products covered by the CITES Agreement require Certificate of Origin.

Importance of the country of origin certificate

Importance of the country of origin certificate

Satisfying rules of origin in theory means that an item has qualified for the originating status and is therefore entitled to preferential tariffs.

Despite that, a claim for preferences must be accompanied by a certificate of country of origin that is presented to the customs authority at the port of entry in most instances.

For example, in the free trade agreement between Chile and Thailand, the rules of origin state that:

“Article 4.13: Certificate of Origin - A claim that goods are eligible for preferential tariff treatment under this Agreement shall be supported by a Certificate of Origin issued by the exporting Party in the form as prescribed in Section A of Annex 4.13.”

What Are the Types of the Country of Origin Certificate?

Detail requirements for COO types depend on the exported or imported goods and where they go.

The two main types of the country of origin or COO certificate are non-preferential and preferential.

Non-Preferential COs

Non-preferential CO, known as "ordinary CO," indicates that the goods aren't eligible for tax relief or exemption under trade agreements between countries.

It is required if the exporting country doesn't have a trade agreement or treaty with the importing country. 

Alternatively, if the specific product being shipped is tax-exempt, it must be declared on regular CO.

Non-preferential and preferential COOs

Non-preferential and preferential COOs

Preferential COs

This country of origin certificate indicates reduced tariffs or free trade agreements between countries.

For instance, exports between Canada, the United States, and Mexico are exempt under the USMCA Free Trade Agreement and receive preferential CO. 

In these and similar cases, lading bills or commercial invoices can be used instead.

In the United States, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) was passed by Congress in 1974. 

It promotes economic development in poor countries and imposes tariffs on thousands of products imported from over 100 preferential countries.

Countries such as Bolivia, Cambodia, Haiti, Namibia, and Pakistan are currently on the list, as are developing and other third-world countries.

Besides, you can refer more to the barcode country of origin system to identify your country's origin of goods.

What Is Included on a Certificate of Origin?

Things included in the origin of certificate

Things included in the origin of certificate

Country of certificate of origin usually comprises the following necessary information:

  • The manufacturer of the product's name and contact information, including country of origin (you can lookup this information on the product barcode by checking a barcode country of origin list)

  • The exporting agent's name and contact information

  • Name and contact information of import or receiver agent

  • Product description, including the associated product codes (HS codes)

  • Product quantity, size, and weight

  • Bill of lading or lading number bill

  • Item transport means and route information

  • Dated commercial invoice

  • Remarks or additional notes

How To Get a Paper Certificate of Origin?

Do you need to issue CO according to their local Chamber of Commerce? Below is a full guide on how to get country of origin certificate on paper:

  • Step 1. Complete and notarize the relevant affidavit

  • Step 2. Submit the manufacturer's or commercial invoice showing the place producing the goods

  • Step 3. Fill in the certificate of origin

  • Step 4: Submit the notarized affidavit, certificate of origin, and associated invoice to the Chamber of Commerce

  • Step 5. Specify the document to be stamped. There is a fee for stamping certificates of origin. Yet, if you become a member, this fee can be reduced as an incentive

A guide on getting the origin of certificate

A guide on getting the origin of certificate

Certificate of Origin Required for Which Countries?

Any country can require a COO for any product, so it's critical to work with your local Chamber of Commerce if you need one.

International trade relationships require country of origin certification, including:

  • For deliveries from the European Union to countries with EU trade agreements, use the EUR.1 or the EUR-MED document.

  • Use NAFTA Certificate of Origin for shipments between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

  • Use CAFTA-DR Certificate of Origin for shipments between the Dominican Republic, United States, and Central America.

  • Shipments to some countries in the Middle East and Africa often require a certificate of country of origin.

  • Shipments to several Asian countries, such as Singapore, India, Malaysia, and China, also require certificates of origin.

The countries require the origin of the certificate

The countries require the origin of the certificate

Read next: What does the CE on products mean?

Free Trade Agreement Certificates of Origin

Free trade agreements with other countries in the United States can require exporters to issue certain proof of origin forms.

It is known as the country of origin certification, for products to qualify for preferential tariffs. 

The samples are available at the US Customs and Border Protection,, or the website of the destination country's customs office or commercial chamber.

Plus, sample Certificates of Origin for Colombia, Australia, USMCA CAFTA-DR, Chile, and South Korea, replacing NAFTA, can be downloaded from the shipping solutions website.

Free Trade Agreement Origin of Certificate

Free Trade Agreement Origin of Certificat

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do I need a certificate of origin to ship to the USA?

You need a COO to ship to the USA. It is a legal document proving your shipment's country of origin. 

Under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), certificates of origin are required to receive reduced tariff rates in the USA.

2. Can I create my own certificate of origin?

You can not produce your own CO. Only the exporter may issue a certificate of origin. 

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce (or a similar agency) for assistance with the process and understanding what is required for approval.

3. Is a Certificate of Origin the Same As Title?

No, it isn't considered a title in the sense of ownership's legal transfer of the goods.

A Certificate of Origin (CO) states the country of origin of the product and import/export information.


We've covered the essential information about origin certificates verifying the country of origin of goods or products while importing.

This is an important document required by the customs authority of the country. It comes with two main types: non-preferential and preferential. Follow this post’s full guide to get a country of origin certificate easily and quickly.

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