One of the data points associated with international shipping is the country of origin. For most shippers and most shipments, the origin country is from where the goods are shipped. But actually, the country of origin more often refers to where the goods were made, grown/ raised /extracted (in the case of agriculture or mining ). The country of origin is important for several reasons.

The country of origin is often needed by customs authorities in the importing country to determine the rate of duty of the imported goods. The country of origin is also a data point used to support regulatory actions such as quarantine, import quotas, to ensure that the goods being imported comply with relevant regulations.

Most shippers simply assign the country of origin as the country from where the goods are being shipped. While this works for many shipments - especially single packages - shippers should be aware of how the country of origin affects clearance.


Jet Worldwide provides Canadian and global logistics. Our support refers to the various systems facilitating the international and Canadian movement of goods. This can include transport, courtesy quotes, storage, and reverse logistics. Our team augments your team with valuable insights and by not being beholden to a specific carrier or process.

Disclaimer: The information in all Jet Worldwide online content, including this post, is for general information only and is not intended to, constitute legal and/or tax advice.All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided “as is”; no representations are made that the content is error-free.

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In this post regarding duty, we review:

  • How the country of origin affects duty
  • Country from where goods are shipped versus manufactured
  • How country of origin is used for import quotas and statistics
  • Certificate of origin and certification of origin
  • Certificate of origin and free trade agreements
  • Different types of certificates of origin
  • International shipping options from Canada

How Country of Origin Affects Rate of Duty:

Originating from a "Most Favoured" Country

Most countries have a default duty rate referred to as the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rate. If goods are arriving from a country other than a MFN, a higher rate of duty is assigned. The country of origin in this case refers mostly from where the goods are shipped.

The elements determining the rate of duty include:

Preferential Duty Rate via a Free Trade Agreement:

If the goods being imported quality under the origin rules of a trade agreement, the goods can benefit from a preferential reduced rate of duty. Most often, qualifying origin goods under free trade agreements can benefit from duty free import. Read more about Canada's free trade agreements.

shipped from not country of origin vector

For example, Goods made in China and sold by a Canadian website do not quality as Canadian origin and will not benefit from duty free import under a free trade agreement.

Country of Origin and Quotas

A quota is a restriction on the quantity or value of a particular good that can be imported into a country during a defined period of time. Quotas are often used as a trade policy tool to protect domestic industries. Import quotas may be applied to goods from specific countries, or they may be applied to all goods regardless of their country of origin.

For example, a country may have a quota on the import of a particular category of goods applied from all countries, or only from certain countries. Common categories subject to quotas include wearing apparel and agricultural products.


Country of Origin for Statistical Purposes

Knowing the country of origin of both exports and imports is an important data point used for statistical analysis by both governments and the private sector.


Why Country of Origin Matters for Suppliers

The country of origin can also be important to the company you are selling internationally.  Manufacturers often track the origin of parts in order that their goods quality under the origin rules of a specific country. 

Determining or qualifying under the country of origin rules can be complex. One of the data points considered is the percentage of origin of components or parts of a product that were sourced from a particular country.  Just being assembled in a specific country, for example, does not automatically qualify the goods under country origin rules of free trade agreements. For example, a trade agreement may provide for reduced tariffs on goods that are assembled using a minimum percentage of origin parts.


Certificate of Origin versus Certification of Origin

Most modern trade agreements allow a certification of origin to be included on existing shipping paperwork, such as a commercial invoice. Most rules set our what data is required but not a specific format. We recommend including both a certification of origin on the invoice for customs as well as a separate certificate of origin. Useful information:  Invoice for customs.

CoO = Certificate of Origin 

Carriers, customs, brokers and other industry professional often refer to the certificate of origin as the COO.

sample COO certificate of origin


What Information is Needed For a Certificate of Origin?

The elements of a certificate of origin varies based on specific requirements of a specific trade agreement. 

Generally, the required data of a certificate of origin includes:

  • Name, address and contact details of the exporter
  • Name, address and contact details of the importer
  • Description of the goods: This is a detailed description of the goods being exported, including the quantity, type, and value of the goods. Read more about valuation for international shipments.
  • Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification: This is the classification of the goods under the HTS, which is a standardized system for classifying goods based on their type and characteristics. Read more about HS codes.
  • Place of production or manufacture
  • Reference to the free trade agreement to which preferential duty free import is requested.
  • Certifying statement indicating that the goods meet the rules of origin under the relevant trade agreement and the information provided is true and accurate. The certificate may be signed by the exporter or a representative of the exporter.
  • Date: This is the date on which the certificate of origin was completed or time frame as to when the certificate is valid.

It is important to note that the certificate of origin must be completed accurately and truthfully. Providing false or misleading information on a certificate of origin can result in penalties or fines.


Different Types of Certificates of origin:

The term  "certificate of origin" can mean different things depending on the application and regulation authority. Different types of certificates of origin include:

  • Preferential certificates of origin: These are issued to goods that are eligible for reduced tariffs or other trade benefits under a free trade agreement or other trade preference program.
  • Non-preferential certificates of origin: These are issued to goods that are not eligible for any trade preferences or reduced tariffs.
  • Chamber certificates of origin: These are issued by a chamber of commerce or other trade organization to certify the origin of goods.
  • Arab-British certificates of origin: These are issued to goods being exported from an Arab League country to the United Kingdom.
  • EUR.1 certificates of origin: These are issued to goods being exported from a European Union country to a non-EU country.

Certificate of Origin for Canada's Free Trade Agreements

Canada benefits from an extensive list of Free Trade Agreements with the worlds leading economies. While most the required key data points are the same, the certification forms are unique to each country.  See PDF showing sample forms (Adobe Acrobat Reader required). Note: The PDF form is for representative purposes only.

It is important to confirm compliance with the consignee/ importer and regulatory authorities prior to shipping

Canada-free-trade-graphic-2022


Main Options to Consider when shipping international goods:

  1. Local post options  (generally best for individuals shipping personal items)
  2. FedEX , DHL, UPS:  well known with information readily available via their websites. 
  3. Air Freight 
  4. Surface: Ocean, rail and trucking

When choosing a shipping method, you will need to consider factors such as the size and weight of your freight, the time frame in which you need it to arrive, and your budget. It may be helpful to compare quotes from different carriers to find the best option for your needs.

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Jet Worldwide provides Canadian and global logistics. Our support refers to the various systems and services regarding international and Canadian movement of goods. This can include things like transportation, storage facilities, and supply chain management. Our logistics support augments your team by not being beholden to a specific carrier or process.

Written by Timothy Byrnes

Disclaimer: The information in all Jet Worldwide online content is for general information only and is not intended to, constitute legal and/or tax advice. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided “as is”; no representations are made that the content is error-free.

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