Information on the North America Free Trade Agreement and how it affects U.S. exports. This information is taken from "A Basic Guide to Exporting" provided by the U.S. Commercial Service to assist U.S. companies in exporting.
Last Published: 10/20/2016
​The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), negotiated among the United States, Mexico, and Canada, came into effect on January 1, 1994. It provided for the elimination of tariffs on most goods originating in the three countries over a maximum transition period of 15 years. For more information on all aspects of NAFTA, please contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

Tariffs will be eliminated only on goods that originate in one of the four ways defined in Article 401 of the agreement:
  • Goods wholly obtained or produced entirely in the NAFTA region
  • Goods meeting a specific Annex 401 origin rule
  • Goods produced entirely in the NAFTA region, exclusively from originating materials
  • Unassembled goods and goods whose content does not meet the Annex 401 rule of origin but contains NAFTA regional value of 60 percent according to the transaction value method or 50 percent according to the net-cost method

Article 502 of the NAFTA requires that importers base their claims of the country of origin on the exporters’ written certificates of origin, which may be the certificate of origin approved by the United States (CF 434), the Canadian certificate of origin (Form B-232), or the Mexican certificate of origin (Certificado de Origen). The certificate may cover a single shipment, or it may be used as a blanket declaration for a period of 12 months. In either case, the certificate must be in the importer’s possession when the importer is making the claim. See Appendix B for a list of all Free Trade Agreements and what is required to take advantage of each.




Trade Agreements