A quick guide to the certificate of origin (COO)

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When shipping overseas, the destination country typically requires a certificate of origin (COO), an important shipping document in international trade. We discuss its definition and role, and all that you need to know before you apply for the certificate of origin (view our guide here).

What is Certificate of Origin (COO) in shipping?

A COO verifies that a particular product was produced, manufactured, or processed in the country of origin. When businesses export goods to other countries, the customs authorities of the export country require the COO in order to clear the products and determine the amount of duty that will apply.

The COO is mandatory, and separate from the commercial invoice and packing list. As such, it should be prepared as a document itself that highlights all the necessary information to determine the products’ authencity and, therefore, their eligilibilty for import.

Companies must check if they need a certificate of origin or not when exporting goods from Singapore to other countries. This article will guide you through the steps to understand why a COO is mandatory for international shipping, how to apply for a COO in Singapore, and how DHL Express can help you make your customs clearance process a smooth one. 

Why would a certificate of origin be required?

There are two reasons why countries deem a certificate of origin necessary when sending goods internationally. 

  1. The importing country wants to ensure the goods are eligible for import and do not fall under the list of prohibited import items

  2. There are several trade agreements between countries for cross-border trade. A COO is necessary to determine if the imported goods are eligible for preferential duties and low tariffs based on these trade agreements.

Types of COO

There are two types of COOs:

  1. Non-preferential COO  — Also called an ordinary certificate of origin, this certificate declares that the goods do not qualify for reduced tariffs under the free trade agreement. This certificate only states the origin of the goods.
  2. Preferential COO — This certificate proves that the goods qualify for reduced rates and preferential tariffs under the free trade agreement between the trading countries.

Countries and products that require a certificate of origin

Any country can require a COO for any product during its import. So it is always a good idea to check with the importing country’s customs authorities or the chamber of commerce of your country to determine if a certificate of origin is required or not. 

Almost all countries with which Singapore has free trade agreements require a certificate of origin when exporting products from here. These countries include the following and more:

China — China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA)

European Union — European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA)

India — India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)

Japan — Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (JSEPA)

Korea — Korea-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (KSFTA)

Australia —Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA)

United Kingdom— United Kingdom-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (UKSFTA)

United States — United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA)

Some specific types of products also require a COO. For example, a COO is mandatory in order to be allowed to ship some animal and plant products. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement that was created to protect animal and plant species and to ensure that trade does not threaten their survival. The Checklist of CITES species indicates which species can be exported, which requires extra protection and which ones are not allowed for export or import.

Information included in a certificate of origin

A COO, being a vital export shipping document, includes the following information:

  • Name and address of the producer, exporter, and consignee
  • The country of origin
  • The country of export
  • Means of transport and mode
  • HS Code, weight, and quantities of products
  • Declaration by the exporter

How DHL Express can make your custom clearance process smoother

Partnering with DHL Express for your logistics needs can be extremely beneficial for your business, especially when having to deal with the customs clearance process for international shipments. DHL Express’ in-house team has expertise in dealing with international customs regulations and requirements and can make the clearance process a hassle-free experience for you. Whether it is broker notification, bonded transit, export declaration, shipping certificates, or other international shipping requirements, you can rest assured that DHL Express’ custom clearance services will facilitate the smooth clearance of your goods. Create a business account with DHL Express today to make use of these custom clearance services.