NON-PREFERENTIAL CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
The Chambers of Commerce issue enterprises, by request, with non-preferential Certificates of Origin, taking into account the rules of the Kyoto Convention adopted by the World Customs Organization and the guidelines of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Eurochambres to determine the origin of goods.
Certificate of Origin is a document, which is used in trade relations between the European Union and third countries. Non-preferential Certificates of Origin are never subject to reduced tariffs, or so-called preferential tariff treatment. The purpose of the Certificate of Origin is solely to state the origin of the goods, in order to act in accordance with customs and commercial requirements.
The need of a Certificate of Origin in export can be checked from the European Union’s Access2Markets Database.
The rules of origin applicable in the Union can be divided into two categories, relating to rules of
RULES OF NON-PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT OF GOODS
The rules regarding the non-preferential tariff treatment of goods are used to determine the origin of goods when the origin of goods is not related to the granting of preferential tariff treatment, for example, the application of general customs levels on imports, the management of quantitative restrictions on imports, anti-dumping measures, customs statistics and other commercial reasons. Goods that are imported are required to have a country of origin marking in the import-declarationThe rules for non-preferential tariff treatment are governed by Article 60 Paragraph 2 of the Customs Code of the European Union, which includes a principle for determination of the non-preferential origin of goods in the union in the case where goods are produced in more than one single country.
“Goods, the production of which involves more than one country or territory, shall be deemed to originate in the country or territory where they underwent their last, substantial, economically-justified processing or working, in an undertaking equipped for that purpose, resulting in the manufacture of a new product or representing an important stage of manufacture.”
Please find more specific rules on the end of this page.
PROVING THE ORIGIN OF GOODS FROM
The Finnish Chambers of Commerce joined the Certificates of Origins (CO) Accreditation Chain of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on 1st January 2019. The companies should consider the following rules when applying for non-preferential Certificates of Origin:
The Chamber of Commerce has the right not to issue a Certificate of Origin, if the Chamber of Commerce states that the evidence of origin is insufficient. The issuing Chamber of Commerce always holds the right to check and verify the documents and their validity. A member of the Chamber of Commerce may, if necessary, inspect the goods that are on the CO application.
The authenticity of the Certificates of Origin can be checked through the ICC Verification website.
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN, APPLYING, ISSUING, VALIDITY AND RETENTION TIME
Certificate of Origin
The Certificate of Origin issued by the Chamber of Commerce has a definite structure. The Certificate of Origin consists of a tawny original with pattern printing (wavy background pattern) and a white copy without a pattern.
Chambers of Commerce in Finland issue non-preferential Certificates of Origin for enterprises. Contact details of the Chambers of Commerce can be found here.
Applying for an electronic Certificate of Origin takes place solely through the vientiasiakirjat service.
The applicant registers as a user of the vientiasiakirjat service and receives their personal passwords. The applicant must complete an Authorization Document.
The application for the Certificate of Origin should be sent to a chosen Chamber of Commerce, where it will be issued and electronically stamped. At the Chamber of Commerce, the Certificate of Origin is issued by a person who has the required authorization. The applicant prints the Certificate of Origin on a normal A4 paper in color after it has been issued by the Chamber of Commerce.
Certificate of Origin and Additional copies
As a rule, only one original Certificate of Origin can be issued by the Chamber of Commerce (original and archive copy) and certificate is always issued for one consignment. This is good to note, for example, in Letter of Credit terms. The copy provided together with the certificate of origin is only a company’s own archive copy.
If you need copies for export purposes, please order them while applying by choosing the amount of extra copies.
Validity of the Certificate of Origin
The Certificate of Origin is valid from the day it is issued. In principle, its validity is unlimited, assuming that all information given remains unchanged and there is no change in the requirements for the origin and/or in the packing of the goods. In the event that the time between the date of issuance of the Certificate and the date of departure of the goods is considered to be too long, it might cause problems in the country where the goods are imported and where the Certificate should be presented.
Archiving period for the Certificate of Origin
The exporter shall keep and store the export documents in their archive for six years from the end of the calendar year during which the decision to hand over the goods to the export procedure was taken.
Errors in the Certificate of Origin
The applicant should immediately contact the Chamber of Commerce if he/she notices an error in the Certificate of Origin.
Replacement of an original Certificate of Origin with a new one
The issuing Chamber of Commerce does not have any right to issue an identical Certificate of Origin covering the same shipment. However, should the documents become lost in transit or are stolen or destroyed or there is an error in the certificate, a replacement Certificate may be issued. The applicant understands that the Chamber of Commerce is not responsible for any liability which may arise from the issuance of another Certificate of Origin for the same shipment.
If a Certificate of Origin is lost in transit or stolen or destroyed, the applicant must provide the Chamber of Commerce with the following information/documents:
If errors are noticed in a Certificate of Origin after the issuance (when a Certificate of Origin is already abroad), a replacement can be issued under the following rules:
REMARK: The issuing Chamber of Commerce, however, shall have the right to reject a request for a Replacement Certificate if it is made, for example, 6 months after the date of issue of the original Certificate of Origin.
Issuance of a Certificate of Origin after the delivery/shipment
The Certificate of Origin should be applied in connection with the delivery/shipment, but it can also be issued afterwards:
DEFINITION OF ORIGIN (NON-PREFERENTIAL ORIGIN) AND SPECIAL CASES
Country’s original products
A country’s original products are those which are wholly produced in that country or products which underwent their last substantial transformation in that country.
1. Wholly obtained
a) mineral products extracted from its soil, from its territorial waters or from its seabed
b) vegetable products harvested or gathered in that country
c) live animals born and raised in that country
d) products obtained from live animals in that country
e) products obtained from hunting or fishing conducted in that country
f) products obtained by maritime fishing and other products taken from the sea by a vessel of that country (The country of the vessel is determined either by the country in which the vessel is registered in, or the country under whose flag the vessel sails)
g) products obtained aboard a factory ship of that country solely from products of the kind covered by paragraph (f) above
h) products extracted from marine soil or subsoil outside that country’s territorial waters, provided that the country has sole rights to work that soil or subsoil
i) scrap and waste from manufacturing and processing operations, and used articles, collected in that country and fit only for the recovery of raw materials
j) goods produced in that country solely from the products referred to in paragraphs (a) to (i) above
2. Last substantial transformation or processing
“Goods whose production involved more than one country shall be deemed to originate in the country in which they underwent their last, substantial, economically justified processing or working in an undertaking equipped for that purpose and resulting in the manufacture of a new product or representing an important stage of manufacture.”
3. Minimal operations
Operations which do not contribute, or which contribute to only a small extent to the essential characteristics or properties of the goods, and, in particular, operations confined to one or more of those listed below, should not be regarded as constituting substantial manufacturing or processing:
a.) operations necessary for the preservation of goods during transportation or storage
b.) operations to improve the packaging or marketable quality of the goods or to prepare them for shipment, such as breaking bulk, grouping of packages, sorting and grading, repacking
c.) simple assembly operations
d.) mixing of goods or different origin, provided that the characteristics of the resulting product are not essentially different from the characteristics of the goods which have been mixed
e.) putting up goods in sets or ensembles or putting up for sale
f.) affixing of marks, labels or other similar distinguishing signs on products or their packaging
g.) disassembly or change of use
h.) a combination of two or more operation specified in points (a) to (g). (The enumerated minimal operations should be regarded here as a limitative list.)
Minimal operation vs. last substantial processing
(update 1/2022) It has to be noted that a working or processing which goes beyond a “minimal operation”similar to Art. 34 UCC-DA does not automatically mean that this working or processing can be considered as a last substantial working or processing similar with Art. 60 (2) UCC. Even if a processing (for example assembling) is more than a minimal operation (more than simple assembling) it might still fall short of a substantial processing and therefore can still not be regarded as origin conferring.
Amongst others, the following aspects may serve as a guidance and may be taken into account when assessing whether one or more processing steps are of a “simple” (= not origin conferring) or of a “more than simple / qualified” (= origin conferring) nature: new product, important stage of manufacture, new properties of the good, changed functionality, employees with special knowledge or skills, equipment used (hand tools, machinery), number / time of assembling steps; necessity /prerequisite for further usage, replicability.
Special cases of qualification for origin
1. Spare parts, accessories and tools
Accessories, spare parts and tools for use with a machine, appliance, apparatus or vehicle may be deemed to have the same origin as the machine, appliance, apparatus or vehicle, provided that they are exported and normally sold therewith and correspond, in kind and number, to the normal equipment thereof.
(update 1/2022) Now this rule also applies to “essential spare parts” that are exported retrospectively and that can be shown to be spare parts for machinery, equipment, apparatus, or vehicles previously exported.
Essential spare parts for use with any piece of equipment, machine, apparatus, or vehicle previously exported shall be deemed to have the same origin as that piece of equipment, machine, apparatus, or vehicle. if the incorporation of the said essential spare parts in the piece of equipment, machine, appliance apparatus or vehicle concerned at the production stage would not have prevented the piece of equipment, machine, appliance, apparatus, or vehicle from having European Union origin or that of the country of manufacture.
When making use of this spare-part-rule it should be clearly indicated in the certificate of origin and the commercial invoice, that the goods are essential spare parts for the previously delivered good “XYZ”. Otherwise, there is a risk of detention by the customs authorities in cases where the marking/labelling on the spare parts themselves differ from the non-preferential origin certified for those spare parts in the Certificate of Origin.
In order to ensure application of the rules laid down in this section, Chambers of Commerce may require additional proof, in particular: — production of the invoice or a copy of the invoice relating to the piece of equipment, machine, apparatus or vehicle previously exported, — the contract or a copy of the contract or any other document showing that delivery is being made as part of the normal maintenance service.
Essential spare parts’ means parts which are:
— components without which the proper operation of the goods referred to in(a) which have been previously exported cannot be ensured, and
— characteristic of those goods, and
— intended for their normal maintenance and to replace parts of the same kind which are damaged or have become unserviceable.
2. Disassembled articles covered by different consignments
A disassembled article which is exported in more than one consignment because it is not feasible, for transport or production reasons, to export it in a single consignment should, if the exporter so requests, be treated as one article for the purpose of determining its origin.
For the purpose of determining origin, packagings should be deemed to have the same origin as the goods they contain unless the national legislation of the country of importation requires them to be declared separately for tariff purposes, in which case their origin should be determined separately from that of the goods.
4. Neutral elements
For the purpose of determining the origin of goods, no account shall be taken of the origin of the energy, plant, machinery and tools used in the manufacturing or processing of the goods.
5. Major portion rule
Where the country of origin cannot be determined by application of the general or special rules of origin, the country of origin of the goods shall be the country in which the major portion (value based on price) of the material originated.
(update 1/2022) This rule is specified as follows: Origin may be determined by weight or by value in accordance with the nomenclature of the Harmonized System (HS nomenclature).
Where the country of origin cannot be determined by application of the general or special rules of origin, the country of origin of the goods shall be the country in which the major portion of the materials or value as described below originated: Where the final product is to be classified under Chapters 1 to 29 or 31 to 40 of the Harmonized System the major portion of the materials is determined on the basis of the weight of the materials. (Where the major portion of the materials cannot be determined on the basis of weight, due to an equal splitting, it is to be determined on the basis of value).
Where the final product is to be classified under Chapters 30 or 41 to 97 of the Harmonized System the major portion of the materials is determined on the basis of the value of the materials. (Where the major portion of the materials cannot be determined on the basis of value, due to an equal splitting, it is to be determined on the basis of weight).
In that cases in which weight/value proportions are split equally between two or more countries, you define origin in case of equal weight based on the highest value and in case of equal value based to the highest weight.
6. Completely knocked down
On the exporter’s demand, an unassembled good which is exported in one or more consignments and will be assembled in the country of import may, for the purpose of determining the origin, be treated as one article assembled in the country of exportation.
If the applicant requests that the Certificate of Origin should be issued in the union, in accordance with the rules of origin in force in the country or territory of destination, the applicant should supply, at his/ her own expense, both the original and translated text of the rule of origin to the issuing body. If the latter has any doubt of the rule of origin, the issuance of the Certificate of Origin should be refused.