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What is a certificate of origin form?

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Quick Answer

A certificate of origin form is legal trade document that asserts that the goods imported into a country have been fully acquired, manufactured or processed in a specific country of origin, according to the International Chamber of Commerce. Almost all countries involved in international trade consider the origins of goods when crafting legislation, agreeing to accords that dictate the tariffs imposed on those goods and whether they are accepted as imports at all.

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There are generally two types of certificates of origin commonly presented with imports at their destinations: non-preferential and preferential, reports the International Chamber of Commerce. Non-preferential certificates of origin document that the specific good, given the attested country of origin, does not qualify for any special treatment. Preferential certificates of origin allow the imported product to be given special treatment that may include reduced tariffs or tax benefits according to the laws and accords of the two countries involved in the trade.

Certificates of origin are commonly issued by the chambers of commerce of the importing countries, although in some countries, other trade authorities may issue them, reports the International Chamber of Commerce. Such authorities granted to a country's chamber of commerce date back to the Geneva Convention and its attempt to simplify the process and formalities of customs when it comes to trade.

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