Archive for the ‘US Customs’ Category


How to Accurately Complete a NAFTA Certificate of Origin

How to Accurately Complete a NAFTA Certificate of OriginIn January 1994, Canada, the United States and Mexico launched the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and formed the world’s largest free trade area. Its intent was to reduce trading costs, increase business investment, and help North America be more competitive in the global marketplace. In order for commodities produced in one of the three NAFTA territories to qualify for reduced duty rates, a valid NAFTA certificate must be provided. For items not wholly grown or produced of items wholly grown or manufactured in a North American Free Trade Agreement area, they must meet certain predetermined criteria in order to qualify for reduced duty rates. These criteria are found in the Rules of Origin section of the NAFTA Agreement.

Who is responsible for completing the certificate?

The NAFTA Certificate of Origin should be provided by the exporter to the importer to support the importer’s claim for duty-free entry. The form can also be provided by the producer for use by the exporter.


Types of NAFTA Certificates of Origin

There are two types of NAFTA certificates:

  1. Low Value NAFTA Certificate of Origin – used for shipments valued at less than $2,500 CAD
  2. NAFTA Certificate of Origin (Form B232E) – used for shipments valued over $2,500 CAD

Importance of a Valid NAFTA Certificate of Origin:

Correctly completing a NAFTA Certificate of Origin can be confusing for those who have never done it before or do not understand the requirements of each field. The NAFTA Certificate of Origin must be completed and certified by an authorized signatory of the producer or exporter of the goods who has enough knowledge of the information provided in all fields.

On a daily basis, customs brokers are faced with informing their clients of inaccuracies made when completing a NAFTA certificate. An incomplete or incorrectly completed certificate invalidates the ability to claim the lower preferential rate of duty that would have been awarded with a valid certificate.

Instructions on Filling out the Certificate of Origin

Below are the instructions outlining how to correctly complete each field of a NAFTA certificate, as well as some of the most common errors customs brokers identify when validating certificates.

1. Low Value NAFTA Certificate of Origin

The low Value NAFTA Certificate of Origin is a confirming statement that certifies the commodities in the shipment meet the requirements under the Rules of Origin specified by the NAFTA Agreement. It can only be used for shipments valued under $2,500.00 CAD; and contains no blanket period, therefore it must be completed for each individual shipment. It is a much more straight forward form to complete, requiring only the producer’s or exporter’s name, address and signature to be completed.

2. NAFTA Certificate of Origin (Form B232E )

Field 1 – Exporter Name and Address

State the full legal name, address (including country) and legal tax identification number of the exporter.

Legal tax identification number is:

  • In Canada –  employer number or importer/exporter number assigned by Revenue Canada
  • In Mexico –  federal taxpayer’s registry number (RFC)
  • In the United States  –  employer’s identification number or Social Security Number

Field 2 – Blanket Period

Complete field if the Certificate covers multiple shipments of identical goods as described in Field 5 that are imported into a NAFTA country for a specified period of up to one year (blanket period).

  • FROM – the date upon which the Certificate becomes applicable to the good covered by the blanket Certificate (it may be prior to the date of signing this Certificate).
  • TO – the date upon which the blanket period expires. The importation of a good for which preferential tariff treatment is claimed based on this Certificate must occur between these dates.

Common Error: It is not uncommon to find that the DATE field is completed inaccurately to reflect a blank period covering a year and one (1) day. 01/01/10 to 01/01/11 is in fact one (1) year plus one (1) day of the next year. To be sure that the blanket period is valid, this field must read the same year in both start and end date of the blanket period.

Field 3 – Producer’s Name and Address

State the full legal name, address (including country) and legal tax identification number, as defined in Field 1, of the producer. If more than one producer’s good is included on the Certificate, attach a list of the additional producers, including the legal name, address (including country) and legal tax identification number, cross referenced to the good described in Field 5. If you wish this information to be confidential, it is acceptable to state “Available to Customs upon request”. If the producer and the exporter are the same, complete field with “SAME”. If the producer is unknown, it is acceptable to state “UNKNOWN”.

Field 4 – Importer’s Name and Address

State the full legal name, address (including country) and legal tax identification number, as defined in Field 1, of the importer. If importer is not known, state “UNKNOWN”; if multiple importers, state “VARIOUS”.

Field 5 – Description of Goods:

Provide a full description of each good. The description should be sufficient to relate it to the invoice description and to the Harmonized System (HS) description of the good. If the Certificate covers a single shipment of a good, include the invoice number as shown on the commercial invoice. If not known, indicate another unique reference number, such as the shipping order number.

Tip: For a blanket certificate, part or item numbers identifying each commodity covered by the certificate should be included to guarantee that there is no confusion as to which products are covered and which are not.

Field 6 – H.S. Tariff Classification Number:

For each good described in Field 5, identify the H.S. tariff classification to six digits. If the good is subject to a specific rule of origin in Annex 401 that requires eight digits, identify to eight digits, using the H.S. tariff classification of the country into whose territory the good is imported.

Tip: Applying accurate H.S. tariff codes requires in depth knowledge of the commodities being imported, the Customs Tariff and NAFTA Rules of Origin. If you are unsure if the code is correct, contact a customs broker before completing the certificate.

Field 7 – Preference Criterion:

For each good described in Field 5, state which criterion (A through F) is applicable. The rules of origin are contained in Chapter Four and Annex 401. Additional rules are described in Annex 703.2 (certain agricultural goods), Annex 300-B, Appendix 6A (certain textile goods) and Annex 308.1 (certain automatic data processing goods and their parts).
Note: In order to be entitled to preferential tariff treatment, each good must meet at least one of the criteria below.

A) The good is “wholly obtained or produced entirely” in the territory of one or more of the NAFTA countries, as referred to in Article 415. Note: The purchase of a good in the territory does not necessarily render it “wholly obtained or produced”. If the good is an agricultural good, see also criterion F and Annex 703.2. (Reference: Article 401(a) and 415)

B) The good is produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the NAFTA countries and satisfies the specific rule or origin, set out in Annex 401, that applies to its tariff classification. The rule may include a tariff classification change, regional value-content requirement or a combination thereof. The good must also satisfy all other applicable requirements of Chapter Four. If the good is an agricultural good, see also criterion F and Annex 703.2. (Reference: Article 401(b))

C) The good is produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the NAFTA countries exclusively from originating materials. Under this criterion, one or more of the materials may not fall within the definition of “wholly produced or obtained”, as set out in Article 415. All materials used in the production of the good must qualify as “originating” by meeting the rules of Article 401(a) through (d). If the good is an agricultural good, see also criterion F and Annex 703.2. (Reference: Article 401(c))

D) Goods are produced in the territory of one or more of the NAFTA countries but do not meet the applicable rule of origin, set out in Annex 401, because certain non-originating materials do not undergo the required change in tariff classification. The goods do nonetheless meet the regional value-content requirement specified in Article 401(d). This criterion is limited to the following two circumstances:

D-1) the good was imported into the territory of a NAFTA country in an unassembled or disassembled form but was classified as an assembled good, pursuant to HS General Rule of Interpretation 2(a); or

D-2) the good incorporated one or more non-originating materials, provided for as parts under the HS, which could not undergo a change in tariff classification because the heading provided for both the good and its parts, and was not further subdivided into subheadings, or the subheading provided for both the good and its parts and was not further subdivided.

Note: This criterion does not apply to Chapters 61 through 63 of the HS (Reference: Article 401(d))

E) Certain automatic data processing goods and their parts, specified in Annex 308.1, that do not originate in the territory are considered originating upon importation into the territory of a NAFTA country from the territory of another NAFTA country when the Most-Favoured-Nation Tariff rate of the good conforms to the rate established in Annex 308.1 and is common to all NAFTA countries. (Reference: Annex 308.1)

F) The good is an originating agricultural good under preference criterion A, B or C above and is not subject to a quantitative restriction in the importing NAFTA country because it is a “qualifying good” as defined in Annex 703.2, Section A or B (please specify). A good listed in Appendix 703.BB.7 is also exempt from quantitative restrictions and is eligible for NAFTA preferential tariff treatment if it meets the definition of “qualifying good” in Section A of Annex 703.2.


  • This criterion does not apply to goods that wholly originate in Canada or the United States and are imported into either country.
  • A tariff rate quota is not a quantitative restriction.

Field 8 – Producer:

For each good described in field 5, state “YES” if you are the producer of the good. If you are not the producer of the good, state “NO” followed by (1), (2), or (3), depending on whether this certificate was based upon:

(1) your knowledge of whether the good qualifies as an originating good;

(2) your reliance on the producer’s written representation (other than a Certificate of Origin) that the good qualifies as an originating good; or

(3) a completed and signed Certificate for the good, voluntarily provided to the exporter by the producer.

Field 9 – Net Cost:

For each good described in Field 5, where the good is subject to a regional value content (RVC) requirement, indicate “NC” if the RVC is calculated according to the net cost method; otherwise, indicate “NO”. If the RVC is calculated according to the net cost method over a period of time, further identify the beginning and ending dates (DD/MM/YY) of that period. (Reference: Articles 402.1, 402.5)

Common Error: Many NAFTA certificates are found to be invalid due to the exporter stating the actual cost of the commodities in this field. As stated above, the net cost field is not asking for actual cost of the good but which method is being used to ascertain that the commodities being imported meet the NAFTA Rules of Origin.

Field 10 – Country Of Origin:

Identify the name of the country (“MX” or “US” for agricultural and textile goods exported to Canada; “US” or “CA” for all goods exported to Mexico; or “CA” or “MX” for all goods exported to the United States) to which the preferential rate of customs duty applies, as set out in Annex 302.2, in accordance with the Marking Rules or in each Party’s schedule of tariff elimination.

For all other originating goods exported to Canada, indicate appropriately “MX” or “US” if the goods originate in that NAFTA country, within the meaning of the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations, and any subsequent processing in the other NAFTA country does not increase the transaction value of the goods by more than 7%; otherwise indicate as “JNT” for joint production. (Reference: Annex 302.2)

Common Error: The NAFTA certificate is invalid and ineffective if the commodities listed are not produced in a participating country in the agreement. Many people do this so that whoever is clearing the goods knows where the items are made. However, the correct thing to do is indicate the country of manufacture on the invoice and back up the NAFTA qualifying items with a NAFTA certificate.

Field 11 – Certification:

This field must be completed, signed and dated by the exporter.  When the Certificate is completed by the producer for use by the exporter, it must be completed, signed and dated by the producer. The date must be the date the Certificate was completed and signed.
In many cases, the number of pages is left blank or it is signed by a person in an administrative position. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been known to question the validity of the certificate when signed by someone with questionable knowledge of the information.


How long should copies of the Certificate of Origin be retained?

Valid NAFTA certificates used for the relief of customs duties must be kept as part of the importer’s records that are required to be kept for seven (7) years following the customs clearance.


Pacific Customs Brokers and NAFTA

Pacific Customs Brokers offers a wide range of FTA related services and resources.

Free Trade Agreement Advisory Services:

  • FTA Concierge Services  – For clients with time constraints, we offer convenient FTA Concierge Services. We can solicit FTA certificates directly from your exporters allowing you to do what you do best – run your business.
  • Tariff Classification Consulting – We offer expert analysis for clients seeking guidance on tariff classification. You may know the ins and outs of your business, but we know the intricacies of trade and always look out for our clients bottom line.

NAFTA Workshop and Webinars

  • NAFTA Workshop – In this full-day workshop we will provide you with a comprehensive field-by-field guide to completing a NAFTA certificate. We will assist you in understanding product eligibility, rules of origin, common errors and the importer’s responsibilities under the program to maximize savings.

Learn more or register now!

  • NAFTA Webinar Series – Join this two-part webinar series to learn about rules of origin under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Each part in the series is 75-minutes in length and will clarify a common assumption that all products manufactured in Canada, the United States or Mexico are eligible for duty free status.

Learn more or register now!

If you have any questions regarding NAFTA certificates post them in our comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.

U.S. Made Goods Returned – Not Always Duty Free

Stamp: Made in USA
Goods manufactured in the United States that have been previously exported and are now returning require a formal declaration called American Goods Returned (AGR) also referred to as U.S. made Goods Returned (USGR).

Common mistake made by importers

Do not assume that the return of goods to the United States will be without some difficulty. A common mistake that importers make when declaring U.S. goods is that they do not know where the products were manufactured. Just because the product was purchased in the United States it doesn’t necessarily mean it was manufactured in the United States.

U.S. Goods Returning are usually eligible for duty-free status

All goods are subject to duty every time they enter the U.S. unless they are specifically identified as duty exempt. Did you know U.S. goods returning to the United States are usually eligible for duty-free treatment? The provision 9801.00.10 in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule allows U.S. made products to return to the U.S. without being subject to duty and the Merchandise Processing Fee. However, the provision stipulates the goods cannot be advanced in value or the condition of the goods improved while abroad.

Example 1: U.S. Manufactured Helicopter Sent to Canada for Repairs

For example, say you are the owner of a helicopter manufactured in the USA. The helicopter has electrical problems and you send it to a repair shop in Canada. When the helicopter returns the value of the repairs may be subject to duty.

American Goods Returned - Example 1


Example 2: Canadian Company Purchases Goods from the U.S.

American Goods Returned - Example 2

Another example would be goods purchased from the U.S. by a Canadian company. They received their shipment and the goods were refused by the buyer because they did not meet their product specifications. The goods can be returned to the U.S. duty free if the proper documentation can be supplied to U.S. customs.


Documentation required for U.S. Goods Returning duty free:

The most common proof is a Manufacturer’s Affidavit. Like the name implies, this form is completed by the actual manufacturer of the goods. U.S. customs requires this for any shipments that are valued over $2500 and if the articles are not clearly marked with the name and address of the manufacturer.

The affidavit must:

  • State that the goods are a product of the USA
  • Be on the U.S. manufacturer’s letterhead and
  • Signed by an employee from the U.S. manufacturers facility that has the authority to sign on behalf of the company.

As supporting proof of U.S. Goods returning, U.S. Customs also requires:

  • Foreign Shipper’s Declaration and
  • Declaration by Owner, Consignee or Agent

At some U.S. ports of entry, Customs will accept a NAFTA Certificate that is completed by the manufacturer.

Next time you get ready to ship U.S. goods remember it is not always as easy as it seems. Be sure to supply the proper paperwork to support your duty free return!


Do you have questions about U.S. Goods Returning? Drop us a comment or question below or email us at Ask Your Broker.


Related Links:

Wood Packaging Materials: 5 Tips to Avoid Shipment Refusal

wood-palletsWe have posted a few articles about the increase in U.S. Customs refusal of import shipments due to non-compliance with the wood packing material regulations, containing everything from perishable food products to floor tiles to machinery to textiles. This remains a topical subject, and while Customs has not officially published the exact numbers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  issued thousands of Emergency Action Notices in 2012 nationwide, with many of those being at the U.S.-Canada border. With very rare exceptions, these shipments have required immediate re-export. No recourse and no options for further mitigation or treatment are being offered at this time.

It is estimated that the U.S. spends about $138 million dollars each year fighting the effects of invasion by non-native species, which includes plants and seeds, as well as animals and insects. While CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) and the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture) have been waging this battle for a number of years, there is a definite increase in the number of inspections taking place and the severity of required actions over the course of the past couple years. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) regulations regarding wood shipping material (ISPM 15) went into effect in 2005. Since then, all wood packaging material (WPM) entering the U.S. must be either heat treated or fumigated according to these regulations. We want to be clear that the recent increased levels of inspection and refusal are not due to any new requirements, but rather more focus and increased officer training regarding this important issue.

Wood packaging materials must not only be appropriately treated and have certification issued, but if an inspection is ordered and the officer finds reason to question the validity of the stampings or documentary statements, Customs has the right and the responsibility to refuse the shipment.

This is a list of a few of the scenarios that have come to our attention recently:

  1. Cargo arrives at the port of entry with a mix of marked and unmarked WPM. No assumptions will be made by Customs as to the origin or status of the packing materials and the entire shipment will be refused and ordered for immediate export.

  2. When goods are delivered from overseas to a warehouse, the packaging is certified and appears clean. By the time it is shipped to the U.S., however, an uninvited rodent set up house in the warehouse. Even if the WPM is marked & certified, it will be rejected – likely for noxious weed seed – and refused, with immediate export demanded.

  3. The WPM is all certified and marked appropriately, but the Customs officer finds evidence, or even a question of evidence – say frass, or fresh boreholes – that it may have been re-infected, or possibly the initial treatment was not effective, or the marks and certification were fraudulent. You guessed it – the shipment is refused and immediate exportation is ordered.

  4. The WPM is certified and marked, but the Customs officer finds evidence that the WPM is concealed in some fashion – hidden between plys, or possibly an unmarked piece of bracing material. Once again, the shipment is refused and immediate export is ordered.

If your cargo is carried as a less than truckload (LTL) shipment, it may be consolidated on a truck or in a container with other shipments. If one shipment in that lot is found to be non-compliant, it is very likely that everything on that truck or container will be refused and sent back to origin. Who bears the costs involved? Every carrier makes their own decision on this, so you will want to address this issue with your client.

Clearly, the costs of having a shipment refused at the border can be tremendous. Between all of the necessary documentation, inspection fees and communications, wait time, a wasted trip to the border and return, re-import process, repacking the shipment and sending it again – possibly late this time, or the risk of having an angry customer who no longer wants the product, not to mention possible penalties issued at a later date by U.S. Customs for non-compliance… no wonder you have a headache!

So, here are a few suggestions on what can you do to lessen the likelihood of being caught up in this scenario:

  1. Make sure that your warehouse personnel and your vendors know, understand and follow the regulations on WPM – the USDA-APHIS website is a good starting place to look for more in-depth information.

  2. As you load your shipments destined for the U.S., look at it like a Customs officer will: is the shipment packed so as to be easily examined? Are all pallets and crates clearly and appropriately stamped? How about dunnage, bracing and loose packaging – are they stamped? Know the signs of infestation – bark, frass, boreholes, live insects or larvae. Is there any evidence of pest infestation on the packing? Make sure the pallets are clean and clear of rodent debris, unintended soil or plant/seed material, and any other unwelcome pests.

  3. If you are building your own crates or packaging materials, you must use materials from a registered and accredited manufacturer, and have the final packing material treated appropriately. You cannot create your own ISPM15 marks.

  4. Implement processes and policies for shipments being returned due to non-compliance, particularly if you are hauling LTL loads. Be prepared with a plan of action, and remember that shipments cross the border and are examined 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at some ports, so it is a good idea to advise your Customs Broker of after-hours contact instructions.

  5. Stay in close communications with your Customs Broker regarding updates and/or changes in the regulations, and know how these changes might affect you and your cargo destined to the U.S.

Pacific Customs Brokers can help advise you on how to better your chances of success with Wood Packaging Materials compliance. We can provide you with helpful information to avoid delays and refusals and manage the entire Customs process seamlessly.

Have questions about wood packaging materials? Leave them in our comments section below.


Importer Security Filing: Mandatory Bond Requirement

ocean importsAre your Importer Security Filing (ISF) submissions completed on time and accurately with every transaction? Full enforcement of Importer Security Filing (ISF) has been in effect since July 2013, and yet there are still many ocean shipments entering the United States with late or missing filings. We have not been able to secure statistics or numbers on this, however we are aware that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun issuing penalties for shortcomings such as failure to file, late filing, or inaccurate filings starting at US$5,000.


What has changed?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has just announced via the Cargo System Messaging Service (CSMS) that, effective January 10, 2015, these late ISF submissions will no longer be exempt from the bond requirements, as has been allowed to date.  Most ISF transactions will require a bond at the time of filing.


Impact on Importers:

For those importers who have been working hard to remain in compliance with these regulations and already have the appropriate bond on file with U.S. Customs, there should be no impact from this new layer of enforcement.

For importers who do not have a bond on file with U.S. Customs, there is an expectation of additional delays and expenses, in addition to the possibility of difficulties in finding agents willing to work with a non-compliant importer. With this added layer of enforcement of the ISF regulations, we fully expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of penalties being issued


Pacific Customs Brokers has published a number of blog articles over the past few years on this issue, that can be found at the end of this post.  If your company imports goods into the United States via ocean, we urge you to ensure that your business is complying with the requirements in this area and that you do have an ISF bond on file with U.S. Customs.


The Importer’s Responsibility:

While it is likely that most steamship companies will issue Do Not Load orders for shipments from known importers, they are not required by law to do so.  It is the Importer of Record’s responsibility to ensure that this filing is completed on time and accurately.


How we can help?

Pacific Customs Brokers offers Importer Security Filing services, in addition to customs clearances of ocean import freight into any port in the U.S. and Canada.  We are always pleased to answer any concerns you may have regarding this matter.

Have questions or comments about the Importer Security Filing final rule? Leave them in our comments sections below or email Ask Your Broker.


Related blog articles:

  1. Ocean Shipments and Importer Security Filing
  2. Enforcement of Importer Security Filing Final Rule
  3. Video: Importer Security Filing “10+2?
  4. Full Enforcement of Importer Security Filing (ISF) “10+2? Begins July 9, 2013


Additional articles:

  1. CBP Enters Next Phase of Importer Security Filing
  2. FAQs: Importer Security Filing “10 +2” Program

NAFTA Certificate of Origin: Top 5 Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

NAFTA Certificate of OriginPacking slips, commercial invoices and customs invoices are all documents that can be easily completed. What I mean is that you are simply taking shipping or invoicing data – shipper, consignee, carrier name, description of goods, etc. – and plugging it into the respective area on one of these documents.

But how about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Certificate of Origin? Can you use the same document completion philosophy?

In a quick glance at a NAFTA Certificate of Origin, one might assume that the answer is yes. Exporter — yes. Producer — yes. Importer, description of goods, blanket period — yes, yes, yes. Sounds like we’re on a roll! We read the NAFTA Certificate of Origin completion instructions, understand what information is required and we finish this form off to satisfy the foreign purchaser’s request. Right?


The main difference between an NAFTA Certificate of Origin and the aforementioned documents is that all the products you list on this document must qualify under the North America Free Trade Agreement. That’s right – do not simply complete the document. There are rules that must be observed.

As we already noted, some fields on the NAFTA Certificate of Origin are fairly basic and you can easily fill them in. The focus of this article is to provide clarification on the less understood areas to raise awareness of their complexity.

Five Common Errors on a NAFTA Certificate of Origin:

#1. Field 6 — Harmonized System (H.S.) Tariff Classification Number

As emphasized in a previous article, it is very important that the H.S. tariff classification is correctly assigned to each product, as the first six digits will determine which of the NAFTA “Specific Rules of Origin” will apply (Go to page 141  to see the list).  If you are unsure regarding the tariff classification a customs broker can help.

#2. Field 7 — Preference Criterion

The completion of this field is going to depend on where a product was sourced or manufactured, the extent of the manufacturing and transformation process, and/or the source and place of manufacturing for any raw materials. Note that the preference criterion chosen for one product might not be the same as for another, and each situation will need to be evaluated on its own merit.

#3. Field 8 — Producer

Hey, you get a lucky break! This is one of the easier ones. YES, NO(1), NO(2), and NO(3) are your options. The ‘NO’ options of (1), (2), and (3) refer to what you are basing your NAFTA claim on — whether you ‘just know it is NAFTA eligible’ (1), or you have documentation from the producer that it is NAFTA eligible (other than an NAFTA Certificate of Origin ) (2), or you have a voluntarily provided and accurately completed NAFTA Certificate of Origin from the manufacturer (3). We respectfully advise that you go for (3), as this assures that the actual producer has done his due diligence in confirming NAFTA eligibility of the product he is providing to you.

#4. Field 9 — Net Cost

In order to properly complete this field, you will need to understand the NAFTA “Specific Rules of Origin” applying to a product to determine if Regional Value Content is a factor and whether the Net Cost method will be used. In this field, you will either show ‘NC’ if the Net Cost method was used, or ‘NO’ (all other situations). By the way — do not place a dollar amount in this field, as this merely indicates to a customs agency that you did not read the instructions!

#5. Field 10 — Country of Origin

This one sounds simple, doesn’t it? You would be amazed, however, at the number of NAFTA Certificate of Origins  we receive that indicate countries other than the U.S., Canada or Mexico (remember, it’s the North American Free Trade Agreement). Another common mistake is for someone to automatically assume that just because certain products are made in Canada, the U.S., or Mexico they qualify for NAFTA. In fact, if they do not qualify, they must not be listed on this document.

Sound complicated? In some cases, it is straight forward, but in so many others (for example, products with many foreign components), NAFTA qualification can be an onerous task. The point we are making is for companies and individuals to realize that much care needs to be exercised (before signing, please read the disclaimer at the bottom of the form so you understand your responsibilities).

Repercussions of incorrectly filled out NAFTA Certificate of Origins:

Your worst nightmare would be a situation where a company has been importing a product for many years assuming that it qualifies under NAFTA (i.e. duty free), then discovering through a customs audit that the goods do not qualify. Regular Canadian or U.S. duty rates range from duty free to over 200%; fines and penalties could also be assessed. Need we say more?

It should be noted that similar rules apply for any Certificate of Origin relating to a free trade agreement. For instance, if you grab a copy of a Canada-Chile FTA Certificate of Origin, you will notice many similarities.

Still baffled over the completion of this document, or whether or not your goods qualify under NAFTA? If you require advice or have questions related to NAFTA,  please contact one of our Trade Compliance Specialists. They will help you take full advantage of the benefits provided by NAFTA.

Additionally, take an in depth tour of NAFTA, by attending an upcoming NAFTA Workshop wherein you will gain a better understanding of NAFTA, learn how to manage NAFTA compliance and utilize this free trade agreement to your benefit.


You may also leave your comments or questions on completing a NAFTA Certificate of Origin in the comments section below.

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