Certificate of Origin

A lot! Preparing a certificate of origin can be frustrating, even for the most experienced exporters. Why? First, it requires accurate filling of data that can be extremely critical for the successful transition of an export consignment. Second, many exporters still practice the traditional manual way of completing this important piece of export document. Third, there is poor understanding about some important aspects of declaring goods’ origin.

Before delving into the most common issues in this direction, it is assumed that you already know:

  • What is certificate of origin?
  • Who validates and stamps it?
  • What is its importance in obtaining the benefits of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)?

So, discussed below are the things you need to take note of to prepare a certificate of origin that has negligible chances of getting rejected.

Product Description

Needless to say, a certificate of origin validates the nature and origin of goods before they are ready for shipment. Hence, it is essential that the goods have precise and accurate descriptions on this export document. The description should not only be easy to understand, but also allow every party, including the Customs, down the supply chain to recognise the good in question.

For example, you must mention the product name, brand name, materials used, ID numbers and other related information to cover every important data about each product. Keep in mind that the description should be in sync with what’s mentioned on invoices and other export documents. Also, use prescribed symbols like ‘\’ and ‘*’ to separate descriptions of different goods.

Package Details

Most of the exporters tend to ignore paying attention to providing details about how various goods in the consignment have been packaged. Obviously, it can make it difficult to tally the goods with various lists at different stages. To clarify, you must mention:

  • Type of packaging, whether bales, crates, cartons, rolls or any other
  • ‘Bulk’ in case the goods will be shipped unpacked
  • Number of packages
  • Special marks, if any, on the packages

Origin Criterion

It should be noted that mentioning the right criterion used to classify the origin of various goods in the consignment is extremely critical. In general, you need to decide among the following three criterions:

  • First, whether the good is wholly obtained in Australia
  • Second, whether the good is produced in Australia using originating materials
  • Third, whether the good is produced in Australia using non-originating materials

To be specific, you must refer to the relevant FTA to choose the right criterion.

Harmonised System Codes

Finally, it is necessary that you mention the right Harmonised System (HS) Code against each good in the certificate of origin. An HS code is an internationally-accepted number (usually 6-digit long) to classify and recognise a trade good. In other words, it is the tariff classification code that allows the Customs to assess the tariffs applicable to each good as per the FTA in question.

In addition, be careful while including information about your exporting business, the importer, weight of each good and so on. Don’t mind cross-checking the information or using an automated system to save time and efforts and significantly reduce the chances of mistakes.

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