Documents: Basics of Documentation
Who determines if the product qualifies under NAFTA; who must complete the certificate?
The NAFTA Certificate of Origin must be completed and signed by the exporter of the goods. A distributor does not complete a Certificate of Origin for qualifying goods unless the distributor is the exporter. Where the exporter is not the producer, the exporter may complete the Certificate on the basis of: knowledge that the good originates; reasonable reliance on the producer's written representation that the good originates; or, a completed and signed Certificate of Origin for the good voluntarily provided to the exporter by the producer. Exporters who are not producers often request that their producers or distributors provide them with a NAFTA Certificate of Origin as proof that the final good, or an input used in the manufacture of the final good, sold to Mexico or Canada meets the rules of origin. NAFTA does not obligate a producer who is not an exporter to provide the ultimate exporter with a NAFTA Certificate of Origin. However, if the non-exporting producer does complete the NAFTA Certificate of Origin, they are subject to the same obligations regarding record keeping, etc., as is the exporter. Even so, it is the exporter's Certificate, and not the non-exporting producer's Certificate, that must be provided to the importer. The producer's statement should be kept in the files of the exporter as backup for their own Certificate.
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