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Incredible Benefit of having a Certificate of Origin

One of the data points of international shipping is the country of origin. For most shippers and most shipments, the origin country is from where the goods ship. However, the country of origin commonly refers to where the goods are made. Or, in the case of agriculture or mining, grown, raise or extract. Get the benefit of free trade by including a certificate of origin.

The country of origin helps customs in the importing country to determine the rate of duty of import. The country of origin support other regulatory actions. These can include quarantine, import quotas, to ensure the goods comply with relevant regulations.

Most shippers consider the country of origin is from where the goods are sent. While this works for many shipments - especially single packages - shippers should know 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.

Note: The information in all Jet Worldwide online content, including this post, is for general information only.

In this post regarding duty, we review:

  • How the country of origin affects duty
  • Country from where goods are ship versus manufacture
  • Country of origin affect on 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

Always confirm compliance with the consignee/ importer and regulatory authorities prior to shipping. The information in this post and all Jet Worldwide online content is for general information only.


What is A Certificate of Origins (CO or COO)?

A CO is a trade document. It attests that goods in an export shipment are wholly obtain, production, manufacture, or processing in a particular country.

A Certificate of Origin or Declaration of Origin (often abbreviate to C/O, CO or DOO) is a document necessary in international trade. It attests that the product for consideration as originating in a particular country.

A certificate of origin / declaration of origin is generally via the exporter or the manufacturer. It may be subject to official certification by an authorized third party.

It is often submitted to a customs authority of the importing country. It is primarily used to justify the product's eligibility for preferential duty rates.

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The Difference Between a Certificate of Origin Versus a Certification of Origin.

Most modern trade agreements do not require a separate certificate of origin. In its place, a certification statement can is on the shipping paperwork. The statement is often part of a the customs invoice. In the post, we use the term certificate and certification interchangeably.

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When do I Need a Certificate of Origin?

Some countries outside of Canada that require a certificate of origin for goods entering that country. They may want to limit imports from certain countries for political or commercial reasons.

Is a Certificate of Origin Always Required?

A certificate of origin is not a systematic required for most consignments. If you wish to claim preferential duty free import, you must include a certification of origin. The primary purpose of the CO is to authenticate the country where goods are produced.

What Determines the Country of Origin?

The country of origin is determined by the origin of the parts and where the production process takes place. The rules of origin are outlined in the applicable trade agreement. Simply from where goods are shipped does not define their country of origin.

Can I Produce My Own Certificate of Origin?

Exporters and producers generally issue a certificate of origin.  The certificates and certification statements themselves are straight forward.

There are two types of Certificate of Origins:

  • Non-Preferential. This certifies that there is no preferential treatment applicable based on the goods’ country of origin. Another name for this type of certificate is Ordinary Certificate of Origin.
  • Preferential – This type of Certificate of Origin is for exporting to countries that extend privileges (reduced tariffs or exemptions) for goods from specific countries. This may be needed for custom’s requirements, a buyer’s request, or Letters of Credit.

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 is from where the goods were shipped.

Preferential Duty Rate via a Free Trade Agreement:

Goods imported under the origin rules of a trade agreement, 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: Benefit from Canada's free trade agreements.

  • For example, Goods made in China and sold by a Canadian website are Chinese origin. They will not benefit from duty free import under a free trade agreement.

Read More: Country from where goods were shipped versus their country of origin

Country of Origin and Quotas

A quota is a restriction on the quantity or value of a particular good for import. Related to a period of time. Quotas are 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.

A country may have a general quota on the import of a particular category of goods 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. It is for statistical analysis by both governments and the private sector.

The Country of Origin Matters for Suppliers

The country of origin can also be important to the company you are selling international. 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. Simple assembly 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 assembled using a minimum percentage of origin parts.

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Certificate of Origin versus Certification of Origin

Most modern trade agreements allow a certification of origin to on existing shipping paperwork, such as a commercial invoice. Most rules set the data required but not a specific format. We recommend including both a certification of origin on the invoice for customs and a separate certificate of origin. Useful information: Verify your invoice for customs has the necessary information.

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CoO = Certificate of Origin

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

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. 

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 including the quantity, type, and value of the goods.
  • Read more: Verify the value of your international shipment.
  • Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification: A standardized classification of the goods. Useful information 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 ensure that the certificate of origin is accurate and truth full. 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: Issued to goods that are eligible for trade benefits under a free trade agreement. See above.
  • Non-preferential certificates of origin: These are issued to goods ineligible for any trade preferences or reduced tariffs. See above.
  • Chamber certificates of origin: 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.

Sample CO forms (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Main Options to Consider when shipping international goods

Local parcel postal options are best for individuals sending small packages and personal goods. Postal goods do not benefit from including a certification of origin.

Ocean is the best option for large commercial orders and containers. Allow for 1-3 months lead time.

Forwarders provide ocean, air, inland transport and other logistics support.

FedEx, UPS and DHL are well known global carriers with international express air options.

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  • Local post options are generally best for individuals shipping personal items
  • FedEX , DHL, UPS:well known brands with express options
  • Air Freight for time sensitive pallets
  • Surface: Ocean, rail and trucking
  • JetShip: Get support and rates from our team today!

When choosing a shipping method, you will need to consider factors the size and weight and the time frame. 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.