On July 1, 2020, NAFTA was replaced with the new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) also known as CUSMA, USMCA or T-MEC. There are new rules of Certification of Origin under the new FTA which means you can’t use a NAFTA Certificate of Origin under the old agreement.
In this blog, we will go through the new Certification of Origin field by field and you’ll get a fully complete and accurate certification under CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC. If you prefer to watch a video, you can find the visual guide here.
Let’s get started!
What Is The Difference Between The Original NAFTA And The New FTA?
One of the differences between the original NAFTA and this new FTA is that there is not an official certificate but rather a set of 9 minimum required data elements to be included in the shipment’s documentation in order to utilize the preferential tariff treatments.
Who Can Complete The Certification Of Origin?
The Importer, Exporter, or Producer of the good(s).
Certifiers be aware! As with all free trade agreements when you are the party completing the certification of origin, you are confirming 3 main things. You’re confirming that you:
- Have researched the item
- Confirmed it meets the rules of origin under the FTA and
- Can produce proof, aka documentation, that the item meets the rules of origin of the specific FTA upon customs request.
Field-By-Field Guide On Filling Out The Certificate Of Origin
*Please note that this form is created by Pacific Customs Brokers. If you’re not too keen on using our format, please see our blog to understand the minimum required data elements to include in your documentation..
Field 1 - Certifier
In this field, you are indicating who you are as the Certifier. Are you the exporter, producer, or importer of these goods? This tells the reviewer of the form who filled the document out.
Field 2 - Certifier Details
Here, list your contact information including your name, title, your company’s complete address including the country, your phone number, and email address. This is how CBSA will know exactly whom to contact if more information is needed.
Filed 3 - Exporter Details (if different than Certifier)
If you are the:
- Exporter and Certifier: You may fill this field out completely or at a minimum include your Company Name since you will have listed the other information in field 2.
- Producer: You may not know the identity of the Exporter, so the information here is not required.
- Importer: Complete this field entirely and note, the address of the Exporter in this field should be the goods’ place of export and reside within a North American country.
Field 4 - Producer Details
- If you are the Producer and Certifier: You may fill this field out completely or at a minimum include your Company Name since you will have listed the other information in field 2.
- If there are multiple Producers: You may state "Various" or provide a list of those Producers.
- A party who wishes to remain confidential: May state “Available upon request by importing authorities” but know that if requested, the information will be required to be divulged. The address of the Producer in this field should be the goods’ place of production and reside within a North American country.
Field 5 - Importer Details (if known)
- Are the Producer or Exporter and know the Importer’s information, provide it in this field.
- Do not know the identity of the importer state “Unknown.”
Field 6a - HS Tariff Classification (6-digit level)
Provide the HS tariff classification - also known as the HS code - of the goods to the 6-digit level located in the Customs Tariff. If you need help determining this 6-digit code, please contact us.
Field 6b - Description Of The Good And Invoice Number (if known)
Provide a description of the goods in layman’s terms. The description should be sufficient enough to identify the goods covered by this form.
If this form covers a single shipment, indicate the invoice number related to the shipment. If this form covers the goods on multiple shipments for which invoice numbers are not yet known, or if you simply don’t know the invoice number it can be excluded.
Field 7 - Origin Criterion (as set out in Article 4.2)
Using an A, B, C, or D, specify the origin criteria under which the good qualifies as set in article 4.2 - Originating Goods.
Let’s go over what specifying either of those letters will indicate:
A) Wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the Parties, as defined in Article 4.3 (Wholly Obtained or Produced Goods)
In layman’s terms, the good on this line was made, grown, or produced completely within North America. A plant is a perfect example of a good that is not highly manufactured.
B) Produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the Parties using non-originating materials provided the good satisfies all applicable requirements of Annex 4-B (Product-Specific Rules of Origin)
In layman’s terms, the good on this line was made completely within North America but have parts from somewhere else. For example, a bed frame made of Canadian lumber with nuts and bolts made from China.
C) Produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the Parties exclusively from originating materials
In layman’s terms, the good on this line was manufactured within North America with North American components. In the bed frame example, it’s made of Canadian lumber with Mexican, Canadian, and/or American-made nuts and bolts.
D) There is no layman’s way to explain this qualification as it will be very specific to the good and production of the good. So simply put, if your good does not qualify under A, B, or C, you will need to call us or your customs broker and work with a Trade Advisor to ensure your products qualify.
Field 8 - Period Covered By Certification (if applicable)
This field is pretty straight forward. If this certification covers multiple shipments of identical goods, include the date range for that specified period which can be up to 12 months.
For example, January 1st to December 31st of the same year. Not to be confused with January 1st to January 1st of the next year as this would signify a year plus one day.
Although not required, we highly recommend that all blanket Free Trade Agreements are dated for the standard calendar year to keep renewal dates consistent year by year.
Field 9 - Certification
Last but not least is your autograph. The certification must be signed and dated by the Certifier. By signing this certification you confirm that you are familiar with Chapter 5, Article 5.2, and Annex 5-A of the agreement and that the goods listed indeed qualify under it.
And that’s it!
A fully completed and accurate Certification of Origin under the newest Free Trade Agreement between North America that both your Customs Broker, Customs and all parties to the transaction will understand.