Certificates of Origin UK

certificates of origin

Making sure you have the correct documentation for your exported goods


Why do you need a Certificate of Origin?

A Certificate of Origin (CO) is an important international trade document confirming that the goods in a particular shipment have been wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. It's often required by the customs authorities of a country as part of the entry process. The document is completed by the exporter and certified by an organisation in the country of the exporter, such as a chamber of commerce, trade organisation, and/or consular office.


What does Certificate of Origin mean?

The “origin” does not refer to the country where the goods were shipped from but to the country where they were produced. For products manufactured in two or more countries, origin is obtained in the country where the last substantial economically justified processing is carried out. An often used practice is that if more than 50% of the cost of producing the goods originates from one country, the “national content” is more than 50%, then, that country is acceptable as the country of origin.


Do you know the type of Certificate of Origin you need?

In most cases, for goods shipped from the EU, the EC Certificate of Origin is used and must be produced using the approved pre-printed stationery. However, Arab-British certificates are required for exports to countries in the Arab League. European Community Certificates of Origin are issued for all other countries, with the exception of Mexico.


There are two types of COs that chambers 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.


What if my Certificate of Origin is incorrect?

The customs authorities of the country receiving the goods require this information so that duty payable can be determined and, in some cases, establish whether the goods may be legally imported at all. Failure to have a correctly completed and certified Certificate of Origin can result in goods being held up by customs authorities, and can delay payment for your shipment if you are supplying under a Letter of Credit.


Need to make savings on your freight forwarding costs?

Whatever origin, destination. frequency or delivery timescales - wouldn't it be nice to talk to someone who knows how to remove the hidden costs, take a look at what you're spending, where, and highlight if you could be paying less? Hidden costs are difficult to spot unless you're an expert - CLICK HERE to find out about our FREE confidential Import & Export Audit.