It is that time of year again – time to obtain or prepare new Certificates of Origin. A Certificate of Origin may apply to either a single importation of goods or to multiple importations of identical goods exported to a free trade partner within a 12-month period, (called a “blanket certificate”).  Blanket Certificates of Origin for 2018 would cover January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.  The 2017 Blanket Certificates of Origin are not extended into 2018.

A Certificate of Origin (CO) is an important international trade and legal document that certifies certain information provided therein is correct and attests that the goods identified in the certificate are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country.  The CO requires certain information be provided by the exporter about the goods described in the certificate.  Customs documentation is completed by customs brokers and importers based upon the information provided in a certificate of origin (when they receive a copy prior to the shipment).  Whether customs duties are charged and at which preferential rate are determined by the importing country’s customs authorities based, in part, on the certificate of origin.

Canada is a party to many free trade agreements – the NAFTA, the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement, the Canada, the Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-EU CETA, and the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.  With the exception of the Canada-EFTA FTA, the Canada-EU CETA and the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, Canada requires certificates of origin to be provided prior to the importation of goods for which free trade agreement preferences are claimed.  For the Canada-EFTA FTA, the Canada-EU CETA and the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, Canada requires a certification of origin on the invoice or a commercial document.

In Canada, a prescribed form must be completed for an importer to have a valid Certificate of Origin. Do not use the NAFTA Certificate of Origin for imports from other countries.  The prescribed forms are on the Canada Border Services Agency web-site – but difficult to find if you do not know what you are looking for.  Here are the links to the prescribed forms:

When completing a 2018 Blanket Certificate of Origin, make sure to include all new SKUs added to your product offerings after you prepared your 2017 Blanket Certificate of Origin.  Also, review your 2017 Blanket Certificate of Origin and update it if you find that SKUs are missing or if you changed the source of a SKU to a different country.  Before finalizing our 2018 Blanket Certificate of Origin, make sure to verify the accuracy of the information by checking with your purchasing department to determine if the sources of goods and inputs changed.  If you manufacture the goods, make sure the rule of origin is still satisfied.  If you resell goods, you must obtain a 2018 Blanket Certificate of Origin from your supplier.  Ask your supplier if their sourcing has changed or if they have changed the source of inputs in a manner that would affect the accuracy of the Certificate of Origin.

For more information about the Canada-EU CETA, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or at  More information is posted on the LexSage website.

See also Common NAFTA Certificate of Origin Mistakes

Do Your Employees Know Enough to Complete a Certificate of Origin Properly?

Making NAFTA Relevant Again! A Looks a Certificates of Origin