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Obtaining a NAFTA Certificate of Origin for exports

Resources | June 1, 2009 | By:

I’m in the U.S. and am exporting some product to Canada. Where do I get a NAFTA Certificate of Origin?

The North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico that eliminates duties and eliminates or reduces tariffs on certain products. Under NAFTA, exporters of products that qualify under the rules of origin must submit to customs a NAFTA Certificate of Origin. However, you should only submit a Certificate of Origin if your product is eligible for the preferential tariff treatment.

To determine if your product qualifies, the first step is to figure out what the Harmonized System (HS) Number for the product is. This information is available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division. Second, determine the Canadian/Mexican MFN (Most Favored Nation) tariff. There are a number of places to obtain this information, including the Trade Information Center (TIC), a customs broker, a freight forwarder, or the customs authorities of Canada and Mexico.

According to the TIC, if the MFN is zero, then no NAFTA Certificate of Origin is needed. If, however, the MFN is not zero, then the third step is to use the HS number to determine what the applicable rule of origin is. Check Annex 401 of NAFTA, which is available through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Once you’ve determined whether your product qualifies, obtain the NAFTA Certificate of Origin from the Trade Information Center. If you need more information, you may contact them directly for assistance, or consider using a customs broker or freight forwarder.

SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division

SOURCE Trade Information Center

SOURCE U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Juli Case is IFAI’s information and technical services manager.

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