Frequently Asked Questions

Basics by Free Trade Agreement: NAFTA

How are products qualified for special tariff treatment under the NAFTA?

Under NAFTA, U.S., Mexican, and Canadian tariffs on “originating” goods are gradually being phased out. Originating goods are those that meet the appropriate NAFTA Rule of Origin. In order to obtain preferential tariff treatment on these products, exporters must complete a NAFTA Certificate of Origin.

The following process can be used as a guide to determine if your product qualifies and how to fill out a certificate of origin:

1. Check with the production manager [or the supplier(s) of the product] about any foreign components, parts, or raw materials used to manufacture the product.

2. If there are foreign components, parts, or raw materials, visit the Census website (or call 301-763-3484 or 3259) and obtain the Schedule B number for the foreign component and the end product.

3. Check with your local Pennsylvania Regional Export Network Partner or the Trade Information Center (TIC) to see if there are any duties on the end product. If there are no duties, it is not necessary to complete the NAFTA Certificate of Origin. If the duties using NAFTA Preference are less than the usual duties applied under Most-Favored Nation (MFN) status (which is equivalent to U.S. Normal Trade Relations), complete a NAFTA Certificate of Origin after determining your product qualifies.

4. Read or review the NAFTA Rules of Origin in Annex 401 (as updates in General Note 12(t) of the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule).

5. Look up the specific rule of origin for the product (the Rules of Origin are listed according to the tariff classification number) and apply the rule to the product to determine whether it meets the requirement. Use the Schedule B numbers obtained in Step 2 above. Your local Pennsylvania Regional Export Network Partner or the TIC can help you interpret the Rules.

6. If the product does not meet the specific Rules of Origin, it does not qualify for preferential tariff treatment and the Certificate of Origin should not be completed.

7. If the product meets the specific Rules of Origin, complete a NAFTA Certificate of Origin. The TIC can assist you in interpreting the Preference Criteria and other information needed on the Certificate.

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