A brief explanation of what exporters should consider in certifying the origin of a product for free trade agreement compliance and an explanation of certificates of origin (COOs) and when they are required. This information is part of "A Basic Guide to Exporting", provided by the U.S. Commercial Service, to assist companies in exporting.
Last Published: 10/20/2016
Depending on a particular free trade agreement (FTA), the exporter or importer may need to document the origin of the good.  Documenting the origin varies, depending on the free trade agreement. In general, the manufacturer, importer, or exporter will certify that a particular good is FTA eligible even though it may contain non-originating material.

The actual certificates may be required forms such as U.S.–Israel Free Trade Agreement or North America Free Trade Agreement. (Note: Customs authorities now allow the use of an alternative NAFTA form, with prior customs approval.) Other free trade agreements may not require specific certificates. Claiming preference is done by the importer.

The importer may ask the exporter why a particular good qualifies under an FTA. If this happens, no specific form is required, but the exporter or the producer may need to provide a written statement that includes the necessary information. More details on how to document product origin can be found at export.gov/fta.

In general, most FTAs require these pieces of information if the buyer or the customs officers in the buyer’s country requests them:

1. Name and address of the importer  
  • The legal name, address, telephone, and e-mail of the importer of record of the good
2. Name and address of the exporter
  •  The legal name, address, telephone, and e-mail of the exporter of the good (if different from the producer)
3. Name and address of the producer  
  • The legal name, address, telephone, and e-mail of the producer of the good (if known)
4. Description of the good
  • A description of a good that is sufficiently detailed to relate it to the invoice and the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature
5. HS tariff classification number
  • The HS tariff classification, to six or more digits, as specified for each good in the Rules of Origin
6. Preference criterion
  • States how a particular product “originates,” including how it complies with particular ROOs, where applicable. Some agreements use a code system (e.g., preference criterion B), whereas others accept a sentence explaining how a particular good qualifies for an FTA (e.g., Australia).

No Certificate of Origin (COO) is required.

No COO is required. 

No COO is required.

No COO is required.

No COO is required.

Israel requires a specific (green) certificate. It needs to be purchased from a vendor or U.S.–Israel chamber of commerce. 

No specific COO is required.

No specific COO is required.

No specific COO is required.

No specific COO is required.

No specific COO is required.

There is no prescribed format. However, specific information is required. See guidance on documenting origin.

COO sample and NAFTA-related videos. See guidance on documenting origin.

No COO is required. See guidance on documenting origin.
Know your domestic supply chain backward and forward? Some of that same information may be helpful when filling out your certificates of origin.

Rules of Origin Free Trade Agreements Certificate of Origin