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Frequently Asked Questions
A Certificate of Origin (CO) is a document that states the origin of goods being exported. Virtually every country in the world considers the origin of imported goods when determining what duty will be assessed on the goods or, in some cases, whether the goods may be legally imported at all.
A Certificate of Free Sale allows an exporter to declare to the importing country that the goods are sold in the USA. When regulated by a government agency (FDA, Department of Agriculture, etc), that agency would likely need to issue the COFS.
This document is important because it provides evidence to the importing country that the goods being shipped were actually produced in the country of origin that is claimed by the exporter. This is vital because certain countries may have trade agreements or regulations in place that require the imported goods to be of a certain origin or meet certain standards. Having a certificate of origin authorized by a chamber of commerce can also help to expedite the customs clearance process in the importing country, as it provides the necessary documentation to verify the origin of the goods. This can help to reduce delays, costs, and potential legal issues associated with importing goods without proper documentation.
Chambers of commerce have been issuing non-preferential certificates of origin since as early as 1898. The 1923 Geneva Convention and subsequent Kyoto Convention have seen governments formally recognize the important role chambers play in this domain, deeming them competent authorities and credible trusted third-parties in the issuance of COs. Since 1923, chambers of commerce are the official body that signs and stamps certificates of origin for exporters.
The documents are processed electronically through a technology called essCert, eliminating courier costs, the need for paper processing, and reducing turnaround time (the average turnaround is less than an hour). We guarantee a 24-hour business day turnaround time.
An exporter needs a certificate of origin to provide evidence that the goods being shipped were produced or manufactured in a particular country. This is important for complying with trade regulations and for claiming preferential treatment under certain trade agreements. The certificate of origin also helps customs officials determine the appropriate duty or tariff to apply to the imported goods.