The Certificate of Origin (COO) is a document issued and attested by a Chamber of Commerce in the exporter’s country that states the origin (or the preferential origin) of the shipped goods. COOs are needed by customs to determine the duty to be applied to incoming goods, or to prove the end-user the actual origin of the goods.


The country of origin and the country of preferential origin should not be confused with the shipping country:

  • country of origin: means the country where the goods have been manufactured
  • country of preferential origin: for products that have been manufactured in multiple countries, the preferential origin is the country where most of the goods value has been added (generally, the country where more than 50% of the total cost of production originates)
  • shipping country: the country from where the goods have been shipped, regardless of the country of (preferential) origin

Certificate of origin is an often requested document by letters of credit, as the importer wants the seller to prove the actual origin of the purchased and shipped commodities (example to be protected by low-cost goods).

To get a certificate of origin, the exporter has to apply at the Chamber of Commerce in person or online. The Chamber generally requests proof of the actual origin of the material, which could be for instance a similar certificate issued by the supplier of the exporter or other similar documentation. The cost of a certificate of origin is proportional, in general, to the value of the invoice that accompanies the goods (between 0,25% and 1% of the value).


Certificate of Origin COO example



Form A is a special type of certificate of origin that allows imports from a pool of developing countries (those included in the GSP, General System of Preferences) at reduced or no tariffs in some developed economies or regions. Form-A COO are issued by the Chambers of Commerce in the country of origin of the product.

Form-A certificates of origins were promulgated by the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) to promote the development of emerging economies. The list of the beneficiary countries can be consulted here.


Form A certificate of origin example