The fact that the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”), which replaced NAFTA on July 1, does not require any particular form Certificate of Origin (“COO”) has left many importers and exporters confused on the proper manner of certifying goods as “originating” under USMCA. The new trade agreement dispensed with the formality of the Form 434 COO under NAFTA, but has left to the trade the determination of how to format and structure the certifying document. Though no particular format or structure is required, the COO under USMCA must contain the following nine “Minimum Data Elements:

  1. Importer, Exporter, or Producer Certification of Origin: Indicate whether the certifier is the exporter, producer, or importer in accordance with Article 5.2 (Claims for Preferential Tariff  Treatment).
  2. Certifier: Provide the certifier’s name, title, address (including country), telephone number, and email address.
  3. Exporter: Provide the exporter’s name, address (including country), e-mail address, and telephone number if different from the certifier. This information is not required if the producer is
    completing the certification of origin and does not know the identity of the exporter. The address of the exporter shall be the place of export of the good in a Party’s territory.
  4. Producer: Provide the producer’s name, address (including country), e-mail address, and telephone number, if different from the certifier or exporter or, if there are multiple producers, state “Various” or provide a list of producers. A person that wishes for this information to remain confidential may state “Available upon request by the importing authorities”. The address of a producer shall be the place of production of the good in a Party’s territory.
  5. Importer: Provide, if known, the importer’s name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number. The address of the importer shall be in a Party’s territory
  6. Description and HS Tariff Classification of the Good: (a) Provide a description of the good and the HS tariff classification of the good to the 6-digit level. The description should be sufficient to relate it to the good covered by the certification; and (b) If the certification of origin covers a single shipment of a good, indicate, if known, the invoice number related to the exportation
  7. Origin Criteria: Specify the origin criteria under which the good qualifies, as set out in Article 4.2 (Originating Goods).
  8. Blanket Period: Include the period if the certification covers multiple shipments of identical goods for a specified period of up to 12 months as set out in Article 5.2 (Claims for Preferential Tariff
  9. Authorized Signature and Date: The certification must be signed and dated by the certifier and accompanied by the following statement: “I certify that the goods described in this document qualify as originating and the information contained in this document is true and accurate. I assume responsibility for proving such representations and agree to maintain and present upon request or to make available during a verification visit, documentation necessary to support this certification.”

Moreover, the COO may be included on the commercial invoice and need not be contained in a stand-alone document. Under USMCA, the COO may be completed by the exporter, producer of the good, or the importer, so long as the certification is based upon information, including documentation, establishing that the good is originating.

Although no particular format is required, Fox’s International Trade team is experienced and can assist with development of form documents to satisfy COO and other requirements for international trade transactions.