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Help Desk • Consulting Services • Certificates of Free Sale • Certificates of Origin
International Business Consulting Services from Top-tier Global Trade Experts
Without a doubt, getting good advice can mean the difference between success and failure in global trade. That’s why we offer consulting services: to give our members the best information, guidance and tools to move forward with confidence.
How do we know we’re giving the best advice? Because our experts are the best of the best. If your consultant doesn’t have an answer, they will know the people who do. WTC Denver offers the highest level of unbiased global business expertise in the region. Period.
Whether you’re just getting started or well-established in global markets, we are here to help you succeed.
What is a Certificate of Free Sale?
The World Trade Center Denver issues Certificates of Free Sale for products manufactured and legally sold in the United States. A Certificate of Free Sale states that the company selling the products has submitted evidence to us that the products listed on the certificate are freely sold in the United States.
If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) covers your product, we cannot issue a Certificate of Free Sale for you. You must contact the FDA directly and have them issue the certificate.
Why do I need a Certificate of Free Sale?
Many countries are now requiring a Certificate of Free Sale, sometimes called a “Certificate for Export” or “Certificate to Foreign Governments”, as assurance from a foreign agency that the products listed on the certificate are freely sold and manufactured in the U.S.
What is a Certificate of Origin?
A Certificate of Origin (COO) is a document that is required by certain foreign countries for tariff purposes, certifying the country of origin of specified goods.
Click here to download a fillable Microsoft Excel version of a General Certificate of Origin.
Why do I need a Certificate of Origin?
The appropriate government agency responsible for monitoring and assessing duties on imported products in virtually all countries requires a Certificate of Origin (COO) to determine what duty or tariff, if any, should be assessed on the product or products being imported. The U.S. has trade agreements with many foreign countries, and under the terms of many of these agreements, American products receive lower tariff rates or are not subject to a tariff. The foreign customs office verifies whether a product qualifies for preferential duty rates based on the information on the Certificate of Origin that accompanies the documentation associated with the shipment. Also, some countries have banned certain products from countries that have been caught dumping. The COO helps prove that the product is allowed into that particular country.
A Certificate of Origin is usually prepared by the exporter or the freight forwarder and notarized and attested by a local Chamber of Commerce or a World Trade Center. Most countries will accept a general-purpose form identifying the seller, mode of transport, date of export and consignee and containing a description of the merchandise, but some countries have specific forms that are required.
What are the differences in Certificate of Origin?
There are several types of Certificates of Origin. The descriptions are as follows:
- General Certificate of Origin:This form is used for almost all exports. There are several versions available because the government has updated the form on numerous occasions, but older versions are still valid. Also, a number of private companies produce the forms and they each have slightly different formats.
- USMCA Certificate of Origin: USMCA went into effect on July 1st, 2020. Parties wishing to import “originating goods” duty free into the United States, Canada, and Mexico utilizing the preferential benefits of the USMCA must have a valid certificate of origin on file at time of claim, completed by either the Exporter, the Producer, or the Importer. They must be able to provide the certificate used to claim duty free preferential benefits upon request of the relevant Customs authorities in the US, Canada, or Mexico. They must also be able to provide the support proving “originating goods” status that formed the basis of their certification. Penalties/Fines can be issued by Customs authorities for failure to comply with these requirements. There is currently no official, government issued, or government approved United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) Certification of Origin. Per the text of the agreement, all certifications must contain a set of “minimum data elements.” Our USMCA compliant certificate of origin template is based on the “minimum data element” requirements. This form does not require a signature by a representative from a Chamber of Commerce or World Trade Center. Click here to download our USMCA Compliant Certificate of Origin Template.
- Mexican Certificate of Origin:This form differs from the NAFTA form, as its purpose is to prevent Asian textiles and footwear from being dumped into Mexico via the U.S. The law took effect September 15, 1994, and affects foreign origin goods entering Mexico from the U.S. If the goods being shipped are from textile or footwear industries, the Mexican Consulate must notarize the form. If the products are from any other industry, only the shipper must sign the form. A Chamber of Commerce or World Trade Center is not required to sign this form.
- Israeli Certificate of Origin:This form is a result of a trade agreement between Israel and the United States, which requires the use of this form for all American goods shipped into Israel, if the shipper wishes to take advantage of the tariff and duty breaks allowed to U.S. products under the terms of the agreement. A Chamber of Commerce or World Trade Center must sign these forms. If you need the special green Certificate of Origin for an Israeli shipment, call for more information.
- Japanese Certificate of Origin:This form is required only if exported goods have been assigned preferential tax treatment under GATT.
- South African Certificate of Origin:This form is required when the goods qualify for a lower rate of duty or when the goods are liable to anti-dumping or countervailing duty. The Chamber of Commerce is usually required to sign these forms.
- Turkey Certificate of Origin:This form is required when the goods qualify for a lower rate of duty or when the goods are liable to anti-dumping or countervailing duty. The Chamber of Commerce is usually required to sign these forms.
Does the Certificate of Origin need to be notarized?
All certificates, with the exception of the NAFTA Certificate, require a notary signature and stamp. The World Trade Center Denver requires that the Certificate be notarized before we sign it. All Certificates of Origin must be original documents. Also, the company employee named at the top of the Certificate is the person who must sign the Certificate in front of the notary. The WTC Denver has a notary public available who can notarize your document for a $5 fee.
How do I get a Certificate of Origin from the World Trade Center Denver?
The World Trade Center Denver can issue a Certificate of Origin for products manufactured and legally sold in the U.S. if the following requirements are met:
- Fill out the appropriate Certificate(s) of Origin for the country or countries to which you are exporting.
- Make sure you fill out the Certificate completely and accurately.
- Make sure that the product information listed is verbatim to what is on the invoice. Be sure to include product numbers, quantities, or descriptions.
- Do not alter the Certificate in any way.
- Have the Certificate notarized before having the World Trade Center Denver sign it.
- Do not wait until the day of your shipment to bring in your Certificate.
- Prepayment is required.
- This service is free for World Trade Center Denver members at the Gateway level or higher.
- Non-Members: the cost is $15 per Certificate (for companies in Colorado) and $50 per certificate (for companies outside Colorado) and we must have the original document.
- You may pay by check (payable to World Trade Center Denver) or pay by credit card: AMEX, Visa or MasterCard.
- You may bring the Certificate of Origin to our office (please call ahead to arrange a time), or you may mail it to the address below: 2650 E 40th Ave Denver, Colorado 80205 USA
Please allow 5-7 business days for certificates to be processed and returned by mail. Once all of the above has been submitted, the Certificate of Origin is often returned that same day.
For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-592-5760.
Contact our Help Desk by email, phone call or submit a ticket for instant answers to your global trade questions. Examples of Help Desk questions include: What documents do I need to go along with my shipment? Do you know who I can contact about the best way to charge my foreign customer?
Contact the Help Desk today: askWTCD@wtcdenver.org or 1-833-ASK-WTCD (275-9823)
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From launch to growth and optimization services, our expert advisors will guide you through the complexities of trade regulations, help you streamline global business strategies and optimize your international operations or supply chain. We can also save you time and trouble by authenticating or “chamberizing” export documents such as commercial invoices, Certificates of Free Sale, Certificates of Origin and Export Registry Forms.
Click below to learn more about:
How to apply for a Certificate of Free Sale
How to complete a Certificate of Origin
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Additional Resources Include:
World Trade Center Denver
Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) Link
Aurora Economic Development Council Link
Adams County Economic Development Link
Colorado office of Economic Development and International Trade Link
State Trade Export Program Link
The U.S. Department of Commerce Link
US Export Assistance Center (USEAC) Link
Foreign Agricultural Service Link
Other federal agencies offer more specialized export support
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Link
- U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) Link
- Energy Information Administration (EIA) Link
- U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division (FTD) Link
- Trade and Development Agency (TDA) Link
- Agency for International Development (AID) Link
- U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Link
- U.S. International Development Finance Corporation Link
Market Research Resources:
Export.gov’s Country Commercial Guides Link
The CIA World Factbook Link
The World Bank’s development indicators Link
The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s database Link
GlobalEDGE Insights by Country Link
International Trade Centre in Geneva – Market Info Link
World Trade Centers Association Link