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How to Get a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Certificate of Origin (CO)

How to Get a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Certificate of Origin (CO)

October 16, 2022
Last Updated:
July 23, 2023
5 min read

Wondering how to get a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Certificate of Origin (CO)?✔️Here's everything you need to know and how to get one.

How to Get a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Certificate of Origin (CO)

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If you're looking to export products to another country, you'll need a certificate of origin (CoO) to prove that the goods originated from your country.

Getting a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Certificate of Origin (CoO) is not as difficult as it may seem. With the right paperwork and evidence, your business can get approved for an FTA CoO.

In this blog post, we'll outline the steps you need to take in order to get an FTA CoO for your business.

What is a Certificate of Origin (CoO)?

A Certificate of Origin, or CoO, is a document that's used to indicate the country of origin of goods being exported. The certificate is required by many countries as a way to confirm that the goods being imported meet all applicable rules and regulations.

The certificate must be completed by the exporter and endorsed by a chamber of commerce. In order to obtain a certificate, you will need to provide proof that the goods being exported are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured, or processed in a particular country. This can be done with invoices, bills of lading, and other shipping documents.

Why Do I Need a Certificate of Origin?

Many countries require a certificate of origin in order to clear customs.

Additionally, you may also qualify for preferential tariffs under a free trade agreement if you have a certificate of origin. A certificate of origin lets customs officials know that the goods originate from an FTA partner country and are therefore eligible for reduced or eliminated tariffs.

It's not required for all shipments, but it's always a good idea to check with your importer or customs broker to see if one is needed. If you're unsure, it's better to err on the side of caution and get a certificate.

If you're exporting products to multiple countries, you may need to obtain multiple certificates of origin. Each certificate must be completed and signed by an authorized representative from the chamber of commerce.

Finally, some letters of credit also require a certificate of origin in order to be accepted. If you're using a letter of credit to finance your shipment, be sure to check with your bank to see if they require a certificate.

How to Get a Certificate of Origin

To obtain a certificate of origin, follow these steps:

  • contact your local chamber of commerce and inquire about their certificate of origin process
  • gather the required documentation, which may include commercial or manufacturer's invoices
  • complete the certificate of origin form and submit it to the chamber of commerce for endorsement

Getting a CoO is a straightforward process, but it's important to follow the instructions carefully to avoid delays or penalties.

How to get a certificare of origin: contact your local chamber of commerce, gather the required documentation, complete the form, and submit it for endorsement

Types of Certificates of Origin

There are two main types of certificates of origin: non-preferential and preferential.

Non-preferential certificates are used for shipments that do not qualify for reduced tariffs under a free trade agreement.

On the other hand, preferential certificates are used for goods that qualify for reduced or eliminated tariffs under a free trade agreement, such as the Dominican Republic-Central America FTA (CAFTA-DR) or the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).

Free trade agreements are negotiated between two or more countries in order to reduce or eliminate tariffs on certain goods. They are a key part of the global economy, and they provide significant benefits for participating countries. For instance, the US has 14 FTAs in place with 20 countries. However, in order to qualify for preferential treatment, the goods must meet certain criteria set forth in the agreement.

Let's take a closer look at Free Trade Agreement Certificates of Origin.

What are Free Trade Agreement Certificates of Origin?

A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Certificate of Origin (CoO) is a document used by businesses to obtain preferential tariff treatment when importing goods into certain FTA partner countries. The preferential treatment under an FTA can take the form of reduced or even eliminated tariffs.

In order for products to qualify for preferential treatment under an FTA, they must meet the rules of origin laid out in that particular agreement. The rules of origin vary from agreement to agreement, but usually require that the goods be produced, processed, or assembled in one of the FTA partner countries.

The certificate of origin is used to prove that the goods meet the rules of origin and are therefore eligible for preferential treatment. It must be completed by the exporter and endorsed by a local chamber of commerce before it can be used.

For example, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), motor vehicles must have at least 62.5% of their content originating from the US, Mexico, or Canada in order to qualify for preferential treatment.

How to Get an FTA Certificate of Origin

The process for obtaining an FTA certificate of origin is similar to the process for a standard certificate of origin.

However, you must first identify if your product qualifies as originating from an eligible country. This can be done by checking the rules of origin set out in the relevant FTA. Once you have established that your product qualifies, you can follow the same steps outlined above to get a non-preferential certificate of origin.

Benefits of FTA COs

the benefits of Free Trade Agreement Certificate's of Origin (FTA COs) are reduced customs duties, quicker customs clearance, and opportunities for expansion to new markets

Reduced Customs Duties

First and foremost, FTA CoOs can save your business money by reducing or eliminating customs duties on goods imported into FTA partner countries. These duty savings can be significant, and often make the difference between a profitable and unprofitable export venture.

Quicker Customs Clearance

Another benefit of FTA CoOs is that they can help to speed up the customs clearance process. In many cases, goods that are accompanied by an FTA certificate of origin will be given preferential treatment and cleared more quickly than goods that do not have one.  A CoO provides customs officials with the information they need to quickly and easily determine whether the goods are eligible for preferential treatment. This can save your business time and money by reducing delays at the border.

Opportunities for Expansion to New Markets

By obtaining an FTA certificate of origin, businesses can improve their market access in the FTA partner country by taking advantage of reduced or eliminated tariffs. This can open up new opportunities for growth and expansion into new markets.

Export Without Worries

For businesses looking to export products, a CoO is an essential document that should not be overlooked.

If you want to take advantage of preferential tariff rates when shipping internationally, ensure your goods meet the applicable rules of origin relevant to your situation and obtain an FTA certificate of origin.

If you're looking to save time and hassle down the road, make sure you get your certificate of origin right the first time by using our commercial invoice template.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure a smooth export process for your business.

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