Certificates of Origin & Common Errors

Certificates of Origin & Common Errors

A Certificate of Origin (CO) is an important international trade document that certifies that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. 

Every country in the world considers the origin of imported goods when determining the duty that will be applied or, in some cases, whether the goods may be legally imported at all.

There are two types of COs that your local chamber of commerce can issue:

  • Non-Preferential COs, which certify that the goods’ country of origin does not qualify for any preferential treatment. These are the main type of COs that chambers issue and are also known as “ordinary COs.”
  • Preferential COs, which certify that goods are subject to reduced tariffs or exemptions when they are exported to countries extending these privileges. COs may be needed to comply with Letters of Credit, foreign Customs requirements or a buyer’s request.

In order to avoid problems with submitting your Certificate of Origin to the chamber of commerce here are some common problems that chambers face with customer submissions. Use these tips to allow smooth processing of your document.

1. Description of the Goods

Describe your goods in sufficient detail to clearly indicate the nature of the goods. Descriptions that are vague or too general e.g. spare parts or brand names are not sufficient.

2. Understanding Origin

You must ensure that you select the correct box on the back of the certificate of origin. The options are

a) Wholly obtained – this is defined as UK raw materials or items produced from UK raw materials e.g. Minerals, Animals, vegetables produced or raised in the UK or products derived from them.

b) Manufactured goods – these goods have been through a manufacturing process in the United Kingdom. The basic test is that the goods being exported have a tariff differing from the materials used in the manufacturing process e.g. Wood, Screw vs Table made of wood.

c) Imported Goods – imported goods must be supported by proof of origin (certificate of origin) from the country supplying the goods or the suppliers invoice.#

3. Marks and Numbers

You must ensure that the marks and numbers that are on the outer packaging is reflected in this below. If you just show the customers address on the package then state “fully addressed” in the marks and numbers box. If the outer is without marks then state “unmarked”. For containerized goods the container number should be documented.

4. Packaging Details

You must declare the number of cartons, crates, boxes, pallets etc on the consignment. If goods are shipped in bulk or are unpacked “loose” or “unpacked” should be stated.

5. Designation of Country of Origin

You must correctly declare the country of origin. To complete this field correctly your should identify the origin designation as below

a) UK Origin – if goods are manufactured in the UK you should state “European Community – United Kingdom”

b) Mixed EU Origin – if goods are comprising of UK Origin and goods originating in other EU countries you should follow the United Kingdom by listing the other EU countries e.g, “European Community – United Kingdom, France, Germany etc”

c) Mixed EU and Non EU goods –  if goods are comprising of EU Origin and goods originating in Non EU countries you should follow the United Kingdom by listing the other EU countries e.g, “European Community – United Kingdom, France, Germany, Thailand, China etc”

6. Box 1 – Country

United Kingdom (in full) should always appear at the end of the UK exporters address.

7. Weights & Measures

In the European Community we must declare all weights and measure by using the metric system. Do not use imperial measurements.

If you have any quesions regarding certificates of origin, please do not hesitate to contact us 0800 1777871 or [email protected]

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