What you need to know about Certificates of Origin - Ease the pain of paperwork!

Andre Ofomah
Marketing Manager | Business West
3rd February 2016

When it comes to exporting, the elephant in the room can often be the paperwork, ultimately it’s the tedious bit that gets in the way of the profit. When somebody stops the international trade party to ask you where your Certificate of Origin is, it’s inevitably a bit of a buzz kill.

After a bit of pondering, the questions start flying around your head. What export certificates do I need? Where can I find them? When do I need them?

Luckily, there are services out there to guide you through your export paperwork requirements to make the process as easy as possible for you, saving you time and money.

Why do I need an export certificate?

Put simply, you will struggle to get your goods through any customs door without them. Nearly every country across the globe needs to know the origin of what’s being imported, no matter what it is. So to export your products legally, you are going to need them.

Among others, one of the most important documents that you will need is a Certificate of Origin.

What is a Certificate of Origin?

If you are new to the export game, you can expect to hear these three words a lot.

A Certificate of Origin (commonly referred to as a CofO) is an important international trade document that is a declaration of where the exported goods come from. The country that you are selling to needs to know where your products have been produced, manufactured or obtained in another country in order for them to pass the legal requirements.

Where can I find the right export documentation?

The easiest and most cost effective way is to go through a Chamber of Commerce like us. We have been providing these certificates for decades, and have streamlined the process for you.

We have a whole department dedicated to making it as simple as possible and our latest online platform makes obtaining certified documents a breeze. You can also speak to an adviser who will guide you through the entire international trade documentation process.  

How long does it take to complete? 

Hearing phrases like ‘customs clearances’ may trigger alarms bells and make export paperwork sound time consuming, but in reality with the right guidance it is a lot easier than it sounds and on occasions can even be completed in a day.

Doing your homework and getting all your export documentation in order will mean that you avoid contractual issues, customs penalties, transport delays or difficulties in getting paid when trading internationally. Remember, even if you use a freight forwarder or an agent, it’s still up to you to make sure that the right documents are available. 

For more information about the types of export documentation such as a Certificate of Origin, including requirements and cost, please visit our export documentation and logistics pages.

Or alternatively, you can contact our specialist team via international@businesswest.co.uk or call 01275 774 958

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