Certificates of Origin

Online COs to support your shippers

Certificate of Origin Overview for Freight Forwarders

A Certificate of Origin (CO) for export is a document that certifies the country where the goods or products originate. The Certificate of Origin is a vital document in international trade, providing customs officials with the necessary information to assess whether goods can be imported and what duties apply. Many countries require COs to be authenticated by Chambers of Commerce. Exporters and Forwarders must ensure that these certificates are accurate and comply with the relevant international rules.

Purpose and Legal Requirements

Certificates of Origin are used for various purposes in international trade, including:

  • To satisfy Customs requirements in the importing country.
  • To comply with quota regulations and determine the amount of duty that should be paid.
  • To benefit from bilateral or multi-lateral trade agreements, as goods may qualify for a tariff reduction or exemption if they originate from certain countries.
  • To meet the requirements of Letters of Credit.

Forwarders and exporters need to ensure that they understand the requirements of the destination country and relevant international rules when preparing a Certificate of Origin. The AWTCC is familiar with the international guidelines covering Certificates of Origin, as well as the rules of origin including substantial transformation. Non-compliance can lead to goods being detained at customs, facing additional duties, or being denied entry altogether.

Things that do not impact the country of origin are the address of the shipper or the point of origin of the shipment. For example – a shipper may have an address in Ohio – but their factory is in Mexico. Goods sold by the shipper originate in Mexico, even though the company’s address is in Ohio. Likewise, a company with an address in Illinois has a factory in Canada – but the goods are shipped from Seattle, Washington. Those goods did not originate in the U.S. just because they were shipped from a point of origin in the U.S. by a company with an Illinois address – they are in fact Canadian origin, having been manufactured in Canada.

Because your shippers’ company addresses do not indicate the origin of goods, it is important for the invoices that shippers generate for export include an origin statement – such as “Origin: USA”, or “Made in China”, etc. as appropriate (shipments may have products originating in more than one country). Customs officials often check to see that the country of origin shown on the Certificate of Origin matches what is shown on the shipper’s invoice.

Types of Certificates of Origin

Preferential Certificates of Origin relate to exports that fall under Free Trade Agreements between countries or groups of countries, which have special reduced (or zero) rates of duty on trade between the nations.

Non-preferential Certificates of Origin are used for goods that are not being exported to countries with which the exporting country has a free trade agreement. They certify the country of origin for purposes of general importation into the destination country.

The AWTCC is qualified to issue non-preferential certificates of origin, and is accredited by the International Chamber of Commerce to be in compliance with guidelines and best practices under ICC Publication 809e. Forwarders should be aware of the expectations and liabilities prior to self-issuing Certificates of Origin. AWTCC has extensive experience in Certificates of Origin and has staff that hold training certificates from the ICC in Paris.

Role of the International Chamber of Commerce

The ICC, which is perhaps best known for its International Court of Arbitration in Paris, publishes a wide variety of international trade rules and guidelines followed by its member countries, including the rules for Certificates of Origin. In addition, the ICC maintains the verification site used widely by Customs authorities, banks, and others involved in international compliance. The AWTCC participates in the ICC verification system, which means our Certificates of Origin can be easily verified online at the official site.

Electronic Certificates of Origin

Issuing thousands of Certificates of Origin online every month, the AWTCC is one of the world’s leading issuers of electronic Certificates of Origin. Our Certificates display our ICC Accreditation logo and can be verified electronically by Customs authorities, which means exporters are providing their overseas buyers with a safe and secure document. Our easy-to-use online system makes the process efficient, and our official online verification and other security measures mean they are less susceptible to fraud.

Online Certificate of Origin System for Forwarders

The American World Trade Chamber of Commerce provides an Online Certification System for Forwarders. Put our skilled and knowledgeable team of certified Certificate of Origin experts to work for your shippers – and you’ll get all the credit!

Schedule online meeting to discuss Certificates of Origin

Online Certification System Account

Please note that you have to register your company with us before you are able to
start processing documents. There is never a fee to register or receive a login.