Export Documentation: Certificate of Origin

 A certificate of origin is required for exports to many countries and may be requested by an importer when there is no national requirement. Sometimes a certificate issued by the manufacturer or shipper suffices, and its declaration may then merely duplicate the certification of origin on the invoice, but more often a separate certificate is needed. Any certificate of origin may have to be notarised or attested by an authorised chamber of commerce and then legalised by the consulate of the country requiring the certificate.

A certificate of origin attests the country of origin of goods, so that it may be an essential condition of importation, and is also used to claim preferential customs treatment . (For some countries, this latter function is met by use of customs movement certificates EUR1 or EUR2, or an invoice declaration of origin.) For trade in Community-free goods within the EC there should be no need for certificates of origin because the information required is provided by the single administrative document and any other customs forms, but they are still sometimes requested.

For most importing countries, the official certificate of origin required is the EC certificate of origin issued by authorised chambers of commerce. The certificate is issued in a three-part set and can be prepared from a SITPRO master document. Box 3 must be completed to show the actual EC country of origin. The person who signs for the exporter or forwarding agent must be authorised to do this and his signature must be registered with the issuing chamber.

For member countries of the Arab League , a certificate issued by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce in London is required. British chambers authorised to issue EC certificates of origin are used by the Arab-British Chamber as agents to issue their certificates too, and a British chamber will act as agent for the exporter to obtain certificates. The Arab-British Chamber certifies the certificate by signature and stamp. They may then have to be legalised by the embassy or consulate concerned. Three pre-printed copies are usually required. Documentary proof of origin may be needed and for this copies of the manufacturer’s invoice with an origin declaration is usually accepted by the British chamber concerned.

The Arab-British Chamber will not accept documents showing erasures or over typed corrections. Any alteration must be authenticated by the person making it and his signature endorsed by the British chamber acting as agent for the Arab-British Chamber. Some exporters have had their Arab-British certificates rejected because the goods description does not fill the space above the statement about the manufacturer: the remedy is to rule through the unused area with a diagonal line. There has also been difficulty over multi-page invoices with the declaration on the header sheet although this is normal practice and the invoices are UN-aligned.

This is an extract from Tate’s Export Guide, for more information in regards to exports, imports or to purchase documentation please visit our website (www.tatefreightforms.co.uk)  or call us on 01908 221162.

Do you need to dust of the cobwebs after a long winter? Check out The Tate Group’s  Export and Import Training Workshops, just follow the link for details.


Sectors: Education & Training
Topics: Customs Procedures, Documentation, and Getting Started
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