An brief explanation of generic certificates of origin and how they are used. This article 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
Generic Certificates
If a good does not qualify for a free trade agreement, a generic certificate of origin may be issued.

The exporter should verify whether a certificate of origin is required with the buyer and/or an experienced shipper/freight forwarder or the U.S. Commercial Service. Note: Some countries (i.e., several Middle Eastern countries) require that a generic COO be notarized, certified by a local chamber of commerce, and legalized by the commercial section of the consulate of the destination country. For certain Middle Eastern countries, the National U.S.–Arab Chamber of Commerce may also provide such services.

For textile products, an importing country may require a COO issued by the manufacturer. The number of required copies and the language it is written in may vary by country.
In addition, COOs for goods that don’t qualify for FTAs can be obtained from a local chamber of commerce or at (a private vendor). Note that some chambers won’t issue COOs or will only issue them to their members. Also keep in mind that certificates will only be issued for goods made in the U.S.

A buyer may also ask you (the exporter) to certify the origin of a product. Here is an example of what’s included in such a certificate (in this case, related to the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement):

1. Single shipment
  • Provide the commercial invoice number.
2. Multiple shipments of identical goods
  • Provide the blanket period in “mm/dd/yyyy to mm/dd/yyyy” format (12-month maximum).
3. Authorized signature, company, title, telephone, fax, e-mail, and certification date
  • The signee must have access to the underlying records and the legal authority to bind the company. This field shall include signature, company, title, telephone, fax, and e-mail.
4. Certification

I certify that:

The information on this document is true and accurate, and I assume the responsibility for proving such representations. I understand that I am liable for any false statements or material omissions made on or in connection with this document;

I agree to maintain and present upon request the documentation necessary to support these representations. 

The goods comply with all requirements for preferential tariff treatment specified for those goods in the United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement; and

This document consists of _______ pages, including all attachments.

Signature, Date:
Phone Number:
E-mail Address:

Rules of Origin Free Trade Agreements Certificate of Origin