The Certificate of Origin, abbreviated also as C/O or COO, is a document that is used in International Trade in order to certify the origin of the products that are included in an export shipment. This information is very important because it is usually one of the variables that influences the duty the buyer has to pay in order to import a shipment. The Certificate of origin is prepared by the seller and in most of the countries the seller’s Chamber of Commerce is responsible for certifying it.
The Certificate of Origin is issued for every shipment and not for every product. For exports that take place within the member countries of European Union the Certificate of Origin is not needed. Instead, sometimes the T2L or a EUR1 document are requested which will be mentioned in another section of the website.
There are two main categories of Certificates of Origins:
- Non Preferential Certificate of Origins: This is the most common used and certify that the country of origin of a specific product does not qualify for any preferential treatment.
- Preferential Certificate of Origins: This type of certificate of origin is issued to provide tariff / duty reductions or exemptions by certifying that certain products have origin under a definition of a free trade agreement (FTA) such as the ones that are existing in the European Unior or ASEAN or Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement). Example of such a trade agreement is between some European Union countries and China. The chinese producers issue a FORM A Certificate of Origin which enables the importer to pay less duty than otherwise stated by the duty regulations in the import country.
Below you will find examples of both preferential (Saudi Arabia FormA) and non preferential Certificates of Origin which were made in USA, Saudi Arabia and Greece. You will notice that there is some difference in the layout structure but overall the purpose of the document and the information stated is the same: