Certificate of Origin(CO)

Certificate of Origin

The Certificate of Origin (CO) is a certificate used to certify the producing and manufacture place of export products, a certificate of nationality of goods in international trading. In the specific conditions, import countries will provide different tariff treatment according to the CO. In China, all exporting products that follow the “Regulation of Place of Origin for Import and Export Commodity in People’s Republic of China” could apply for General Certificate of Origin.

In the international trading, counties from all over the world, on the basis of their own foreign trade policies, generally practice import control policies such as different tariff and quantity limit, and carried out by customs. Import countries demanding export countries to provide CO of commodities has become a international practice, therefore CO is one of the most important certificates in international trading. Its purposes are boiled down as follows:

(1) Important tool for deciding on tariff treatment and help increase market competitive edge

Most countries now are applying different custom duty rate upon imported commodities from different countries. The difference always depends on commodities’ place of origin while CO is an effective certificate for customs to decide on tariff and treatment. If there are any agreements about tariff between governments of import and export countries regulating Agreed Customs Rate in form of terms, or regulating Most Favored Nation Clause in the agreements, buyers would always request sellers to provide effective CO to prove the origin of imported commodities being the agreement-contracting country, so as to get relevant duty rate treatment.

(2)  Evidence of products’ inner quality or settlement of exchange

In the international trading, general CO also works as an evidence of commodities’ inner quality increasing the competitive edge. For instance, in the international market, silk with CO from China could offer a much better price than silk with CO from other counties.

(3) Reference for trade statistics

Customs of all countries are bearing the responsibility of counting import and export commodities, and the CO is a very important reference for customs to calculate the commodities.

Certificate of Origin Picture:


79 responses to “Certificate of Origin(CO)”

  1. percy says:

    hi. i like to buy goods from china to south africa.
    my question is what are the requirements for the application of imports of goods in china and how long does the process take place?
    im looking forward to your respond

    mr percy

    • Xixi says:

      Hi Percy,

      You don’t actually have to apply to import products from China, however, for some products, your supplier do need to apply for export permit, but that is not an issue you should worry about.

      I think your question is how to import from china and how long you are expected to get the products?

      Please read this article to know basic information and procedure on how to import from china http://www.chinawhy.net/blog/Article.asp?id=90

      It will depends on your order quantity and supplier’s production capacity to tell hong long the delivery time will be. You can ask supplier to include the delivery time in their quote sheet so you can compare.


  2. Beth says:

    I am interested in importing spices to China, but I’m not sure who to go to for it. For example, if I want to buy spices from Indonesia, do I approach the government or a shipping company? Where can I find the form the Chinese government will require? Does it have to be in Chinese or can it be in English? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Beth,

      To buy spices from China, you can try the following:
      1) attend trade shows in China(such as Canton fair) to find quality suppliers
      2) use online trade portal like alibaba, globalsources to find supplier

      You don’t need to contact government or shipping company(which will only help with the shipping).


  3. CAESAR says:

    I have a question here,what if i sending parcel to China and suddenly custom China need the Automatic Import License and my consignee unable to provide it,how do i apply or my consignee apply it for custom clearance?please advice on this,Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Caesar,

      For companies, it is not very difficult to apply for import/export license, however, they need to register at departments of tax, customs, administration of industry and commerce,etc. The procedure takes 10 to 20 days to finish.

      If you send to individual, I don’t think they need import license, just pay the tarrif(if the products exceed certain value), and they should be able to get the parcel.


  4. Harsh Mangal says:

    Hi xixi,

    I’ve just imported some goods from China and now the custom officials here want require the Country of origin certificate. The company which I bought the goods from aren’t well versed in English so I can explain. I was wondering, could you be kind enough to channel me to the official govt website, from where I can ask the company to get the certificate, or tell me how it’s done, at least?

    I’d be glad to receive any kind of help.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Harsh,

      Thank you for your contact.

      In China, only company with export license is eligable to apply for certificate of origin(which is issued by Inspection and Quarantine Bureau).

      The website is http://www.aqsiq.gov.cn

      If you need help in term of export and documents, please let us know.


  5. S SINGH says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am from New Delhi, India. Kindly advice if we import Made in Japan products from China then how could we get Origin Of Certificate? and which Certificate will be required?


    New Delhi

    • Xixi says:

      Dear S.Singh,

      To get chinese origin of certificate, the products has to be made in China and exported from China.

      The brand might be a Japanese brand, like Fuji camera, but if it is made in a factory in China, it must has a made in China label.


      • S SINGH says:

        Dear Steven,

        Thanks for your reply.

        But if any China Trader imports any item from Japan and then export it to India, then which Certificate will be required?



  6. Besson Ann says:

    Dear Xixi,

    I have some questions concerning the Certificate of Origin. Could we produce one CO for 1 Bill of Landing (With x TC) or do we have to produce one CO by container (more expensive)?
    Moreover, perhaps, could you channel my on the regulation text concerning the label of the original country on UC? I.e. Do we have to indicate for all the goods the origin with a sticker on the packaging???

    Thank you for your kind help.

    Best regards,


    • Xixi says:

      Dear Ann,

      For CO, you need to apply 1 CO for each export(B/L), not for each container.

      I just went through Regulations of the Origin of Imported – Exported Goods of PRC, didn’t find any provision saying that you must have such a sticker if you export products to China.

      I am not sure of the regulation on this regard in your country, please check with local customs.

      Chinaimportexport.org team

  7. James Habel says:

    I want to ship electronic goods, manufactured in the United States, to one of our plants in China. While I understand I will need to provide a Proforma Invoice, I think I might also need a “Certificate of Origin” stating these goods were all made in the USA. If true, do I need to get a notarized copy EVERYTIME or can I get one that can cover a certain time period. (Like one year) All the parts I ship are part of an electronic pressure monitoring system, but since there are 20+ parts needed, the contents of each indivdual box vary from one box to the next.
    Thank You in advance for all of your help.
    Best Regards,

    • Xixi says:

      Hi James,

      For each import to China, you need to do the custom clearance, so you need a set of documents(including commercial invoice, packing list, CO and other documents) for this lot of import.

      That is to say, you have to provide a CO for each import, CO is a certificate you need to apply with the government, for invoice, you can make yourself.


  8. Jenni says:

    Dear Xixi,

    It is becoming standard to issue electronic CO from Australia now, does China accept electronic certificates of origin?

    Thank you.

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Jenni,

      In China, we still use paper CO.


    • Mark O'Leary says:

      Hi Jenni,

      We advise that China customs do recognise and accept electronic certificates of origin.

      Kind Regards

      Mark O’Leary

      • Xixi says:

        Hi Mark,

        Thanks for the confirmation and input, it is very helpful.


      • Dear Mark,
        my company supplies italian Chambers of Commerce with software for issuing electronic non preferential certificates of origin. Could you please let me know which Customs all around the world accept electronic c.o., I mean non autograph signed by Chamber executive but by his PDF specimen applied on the document?
        Thanks for your attention.

  9. Alex Font says:

    Dear Xi Xi,

    We are a company that helps clients to purchase products in China to send to South America. One of our clients has requested a Pro Forma Invoice from the Chinese Manufacturer + A Certificate of Origin but this is without the Client in South America having paid the Chinese Manufacturing Company for the goods. The Chinese Manufacturing Company says they can give us the Pro Forma Invoice but not the Certificate of Origin until the Client in South America pays the goods. Is this correct? Is it true that the Manufacturing company cannot issue the Certificate of Origin until the client does not pay?

    Please advise.


    • Xixi says:

      Dear Alex,

      If your chinese supplier has export license, they should be able to apply for CO from Quanrantine and Inspection Bureau.
      C/O can be applied before, during or after the exportation if the supplier provide the following document:
      commercial invoice
      packing list

      So in your case, it is more the supplier don’t want to send the CO before you make the payment, rather than if they are able to apply for CO before the payment.


  10. moli says:

    hi! I want to export tea from china to south america, so i need to get a CO? and if want to export different varieties of tea to different parts of south america, how many CO should i get ?
    and last question, is it expensive?

    thank you very much!

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Moli,

      For each export, you need to apply for a CO.

      It is easy to apply, if you have a properly incorporated export company, if you have registered with the local Inspection and Quarantine Bureau to get the qualification of issuing CO, then your company can issue the CO, only need the Inspection and Quarantine Bureau to stamp on it to make it effective.

      If your company is not qualified, you can ask the help of shipping agent, they can apply CO on your behalf, price is a few hundred RMB.

      Steven Chow

  11. Peter says:

    My UK company has product made in China for sale around the world. As far as the CO is concerned, who is the ‘exporter’? Is it the Chinese manufacturer? Or is it the UK company?

    We also have a HK subsidiary co. Could they be the exporter? Is this all about holding an export licence?

    We need to maintain commercial confidentiality to avoid our customer going directly to the manufacturer

    • Xixi says:

      Hi Peter,

      If the export is done properly, then the shipper on the CO must be the company who have the export license and arrange the exportation.

      However, as you know, there is grey export, if you don’t need tax refund, then you can ask a shipping agent to arrange grey export for you, in that case, there must be 2 exporter, one is your company in Hongkong or UK, the other is the company of the shipping agent who help you arrange the CO.


  12. Tracy says:

    I work in an importing company who deals with houseware items. I was recently asked to request a Form A from one of our suppliers for some lanterns we are ordering.

    I had asked why these specific items needed a Form A as normally, we don’t get them with other shipments. The person I asked didnt seem sure on what is required to request a From A.

    My question is, I was thinking of sending a mass e-mail to my suppliers, asking them to note that going forward all shipments must have a Form A / Certificate of Origin.
    Can this be done? Or are there criteria needed to apply for one?

    Thank you!

    • Xixi says:

      Hi Tracy,

      If your supplier have export license, then if they register at Inspection and Quarantine Bureau properly, they can be able to issue Certificate or Origin. For each export, they print the CO, only need to go to the Inspection and Quarantine Bureau to stamp to make it effective.

      If the supplier don’t have export license, I think normally shipping agent can help to issue a CO and FORM A.


  13. Daren says:

    I am considering making large on-going purchases from a supplier in China. The first purchase is large enough that I am concerned that I am dealing with a reputable supplier, but it is not so large that I can afford to go there to see with my own eyes. Although I am oprdering samples in advance, once the first delivery is made and the product proves to be acceptable, I will feel much better.

    I am wondering, is there a way to determine the validity and reputation of a company in China? For instance, if I were buying from a company in Canada, I would determine if they are appropriately registered with the government as a company. I would also try to determine if they are a member in good standing of a Chamber of Commerce or other organization that might give evidence that the company is reputable (and not an internet scam for example).

    Is there a way for me to determine the validity and reputation of a company based in China?

  14. Elena says:

    We are importing goods from China (of chinese and non-chinese origin), and our customs require Certificate of origin (CO) for customs clearence. But when we asked the supplier to provide CO for all goods, they answered they could send us certificate ONLY for the goods “made in China”. And that the Chamber of commerce can’t approve other origin.
    Is there a chance to get certificate or document approving the origin of other goods produced not in China?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Elena,

      To issue CO, the products has to be exported from China to other countries.


      • Elena says:

        Thank you! The goods were exported from China to our country. But for exported goods they can give certificate of origin for the goods produced only in China? And what about other goods – exported from China but not produced in China? Is it possible to get some certificate or any document to approve origin?

        • Xixi says:

          Dear Elena,

          It is true.
          We can only apply for CO when we export the products and the customs have record that our products are cleared through the customs and exported out of China.


  15. antonio says:

    Hi Pals,

    Somebody told me that certificate of origin from China is not more necessary and substituted by a chinese origin declaration on invoice. This new rule started by october 25, 2013. Have you official report
    Thanks and regards


    • Xixi says:

      Dear Antonio,

      We haven’t heard of that, in practice in November, we still need CO for custom clearance.

      Please double check with the source.


  16. marc g says:


    How long does it take the factory to obtain a CO Form E with stamp?

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Marc,

      Normally one to two business days. But make sure the supplier is qualified to apply for CO.


  17. Alvin Chan says:

    Our company would like to export food stuff eg snacks to china. We are applying the Form E. However, the health certificate is not issuing under our company name. The health certificate is registered under our local supplier as manufacturing. In this case, do we have any issue at china as the FORM E and B/L stated our company name but the Health certificate is stated manufacturing company name.

    According to our agent shipping, The Form E of Exporter and HB/L of shipper must be same as the health certificate. is it true?

    • Xixi says:

      Dear Alvin,

      I will check with entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau for clarification, will get back to you soon.


  18. Baskaran says:


    We are recently started importing food from China to india..

    Kindly help me to clarify the following:

    1. What are the certificates required to import food from china to India
    2. What kind of Country of origin – i mean to say form -a or Form -e or Form -p
    3. Do we need to get CO from CCPIT,/ CIQ bureau .

    Awaiting for your valuable guidelines.

    Thanks, Baksaran.G.

    • Xixi says:

      Hi Baskaran,

      For your questions:
      1. What are the certificates required to import food from china to India
      Re: You have to check with your customs to know what document required, practically, the shipping agent also know it, you could consult them.
      2. What kind of Country of origin – i mean to say form -a or Form -e or Form -p
      Re: CO or Form M is both okay, but form M will make you pay less tariff.
      3. Do we need to get CO from CCPIT,/ CIQ bureau .
      Re: Your chinese supplier need to apply, not you, the CO need to be applied with CIQ bureau.

      Best regards,

  19. David says:

    Hello our company want to export food products china, but our country (colombia) dont issue COO for china, because there is not tariff, what you do in those cases when a foreign country dont issue certiciated of origin?

    • Xixi says:

      Could you elaborate David?

      Do you mean there is no tariff in China or Colombia for food? I think China and Colombia have not signed FTA yet, so there must be tariff from China side.

      Please confirm with the buyer if they need CO, in many cases, CO is not a must.

      Best regards,

  20. Anvar says:


    Have the following situation:
    One of our shipments from China had many items, and the Certificate of Origin was issued on 3 pages:
    1st page – normal
    2nd & 3rd page – printed on regular office paper and verified by the Council’s original stamp

    Is it a general practice in China to get additional pages of CO printed like this, or should I require all pages to be on a special type of paper?


  21. Sónia says:


    I have a doubt, I’m exporting from China and I need a CO to go along. My question is the CO can be issue in some other company name? Or always has to be on manufacturer’s name?


    • Xixi says:

      Hi Sonia,

      To be able to issue CO or Form A(Form E, Form M, Form F), the supplier has to be an export company registered in mainland China, registering with inspection and quarantine bureau to obtain the qualification of issuing CO or Form A(Form E, Form M, Form F).

      They will get a software to make CO, each time, they input the information of CO, print it, and send it to the bureau to stamp to make it effective.

      Belowing companies can’t issue CO or Form A:
      Chinese company but don’t have export license
      Hongkong offshore company, or other non Chinese company

      However, in practise, for CO, many shipping agent can help you to issue third party CO.

      The format is like this:
      Agent company name
      O/B supplier name

      Mostly it works, but as buyer, you have to check with your customs if they accept this, for some countries, they don’t accept this kind of CO.

      For Form A(E,F,M), you can’t make third party certificate of origin.

      Best regards,

  22. Mary Beth says:

    How do I get a Certificate of Origin for China? We have imported material into China and the customer is asking for CO but I don’t know how to obain one.

    Thank you

    • Xixi says:

      Hi Mary,

      You mean you are exporting products to China, your chinese client request CO, but you don’t know where to apply for this?
      I don’t know things in your country, but in China, if we need a CO, we have 2 options:
      1) apply with quarantine and inspection bureau to issue CO
      2) ask shipping agent to help to issue a third party CO

      You can try the same in your country.


  23. dori says:

    We have a product that was shipped out of china to us in the US that we then shipped to a customer in Hong Kong. We have a CO from the factory made out to us when they shipped it but the Hong kong company is asking for a co. Can I ask the factory to redo the co listing our customer and the amount we sent them?

  24. Sham Bajaj says:


    Iam importing plastic wheeled dust bins from china to india. Can my Exporting company in china can get the Certificate of Origin. Then By this can we both buyer and seller can apply for Asia Pacific Trade Agreement Concession

    Sham Bajaj

  25. Danny says:

    I’m from Shipper company, why do customer wants the Certificate of Origin ?

  26. Moataz Mohamed says:

    Dear Xixi,

    Thank you for all the information, am looking for a reliable agent in Guangdong, Do you have any recommendation?

    Am Shipping to Egypt.

    Thanks in advance

  27. Teerasak says:

    Dear All,

    I would like to know about Form E export shipment to China , that how much this form can reduce import duty & tax, and they have any special or any import regulation requirement from China custom.

    Best Regards,
    Teerasak Jankaew

    • Xixi says:

      Hi Teerasak,

      To know the tariff difference, you need to tell me what HS code of product you are selling to China. So we can check tariff for Form E and without Form E.
      As far as I know, the tariff under Form E is significantly lower.

      Best regards,

  28. Lorenzo says:

    Dear all,

    We are Thai Trade Company base in Thailand. We buy the products from Hong Kong Trade Company and the products are produced and ship out from Cina. The Products are sold for our Italian customer and ship from Cina to Italy.

    1. Form A must issued only from Hong Kong Company ? If we not need the Hong Kong Trade Company name on Doc we can do? The name of the Customer (consegnee) must be the Thai Company or Italian Company ?

    2. For CO who can issued the CO ? Shipping or Trader and the name on the documents will be Trader Name or Producer ?

    3. Can Issued House BL between Hong Kong Trade Company and Thai Company and after the shipping in Thailand change the BL between Thai Company and Italian Customer ?

    thank you

    • Xixi says:

      Hi Lorenzo,

      To reply to your questions:
      1) No, the Hongkong company can’t issue FORM A, but they can be listed as co-shipper. Similarly, your company in Thai or the company in Italy can be listed as co-shipper on Form A(it is called third party Form A).
      2) The real supplier in China can, we can also help to issue CO in China.
      3) You will import the products to Thailand then re-export to Italy? If not, why use the shipper name with your company directly, so you don’t need to change. As long as you can pay the supplier before you change the shipper.

      If you have any other question or inquiry, please send to info@chinaimportexport.org.

      Best regards,

      • Lorenzo says:

        Hi Steve,

        The Term sold for our italian customer is FOB Qindao.
        Hong Kong Trade issue Invoice for us and we issue invoice for customer who received products. So your suggestion are

        1. Thai Company issue invoice and packing list, co shipper on BL and Health Cert
        2. The Hong Kong Trader issue invoice for Thai Company

        could b corec†?

  29. Thedath R says:


    We are a company in India which has a subsidiary in Sri Lanka. we are planing to export some Chemicals to UAE. We cant disclose the name of the Indian company to the buyer. So my question is can we get a certificate of origin under the name of the sri lankan company.?
    we have got the other documents (CUSDEC and BL) under the name of the Indian company.

    Thank you

  30. Brigitte Burgesshill says:


    we are a UK based company supplying a customer in UAE with ductile iron products. We buy these products from a UK supplier and our UK supplier in turn utilises a Chinese Manufacturer. Due to urgency of order it has been agreed that Chinese manufacturer would deliver directly to our customer in UAE.
    Please advise who is to issue CoO to obtain customs clearance in UAE. Chinese Manufacturer have advised that they will only issue CoO Form A with Box 1 showing Chinese Manufacturer as exporter. Our UAE customer advises that this is not sufficient for customs clearance and that CoO must show our company as the Exporter. Please advise if we can raise CoO in this instance on a EUR 1 form or what correct procedure is. Thank you for your assistance.

  31. Mansoor says:

    Dear Friend

    We are an elevator spare parts based in India, and we do buy products from China and other countries for export purpose, now the quantity of the goods have increased recently so we are thinking of exporting it directly from China to our customers so in this case how can I give Commercial invoice packing list from India with my company letter head and take a certificate of origin from china for the goods exported directly to our customers through our company name is it possible to get a certificate of origin with our company name so i can export directly to my customers in middle east as they pay to me in India then i buy for them from china

  32. Maximiliano says:


    About the FORM F Certificate, how much time has a China supplier to issue this document from the date of shipment?

    Best regards.


  33. mohmd says:

    we are company in Thailand planning to manufacture in china and re export from Thailand to UAE and Saudi, is it true if i do re export CO document must be the same name of invoice and packing list? how if i need to issue invoice from my company in Thailand?

  34. Robin says:

    I recently acquired a Chinese buggy and want to know how can I get a (CO).
    I live in Texas, US.

    Thank you

  35. Brian says:

    In most cases certificate of origin is NOT required in the U.S. Pretty much the only time you should be concerned about certificate of origin is when your goods are manufactured by countries with preferential treatments and you want to be exempt from duties and taxes. Note that China is not one of them.

  36. rajaki says:

    I want to import pvc sticker from ningbo to india but seller is not aware about coo
    can you pls suggest how can I get coo from supplier??

  37. Jon says:

    Hi Xixi,

    As we are a trader, and we have a product trying to export to China from Malaysia.

    But we without the COO, and how do we get the clearance. Due to some circumstances we couldn’t get COO from the supplier.

    Please advise.


  38. Stephen Chung says:

    Dear Robin,

    If I were to import medical devices that were not registered with the CFDA but were manufactured for the sole purpose of exporting, how would I obtain the country of origin certificate?

    Also, if the medical devices are exported but were packaged in Korea, would it still be considered as made in China?

    Thank you.

  39. Anton says:


    I would like to get the knowledge of having the CO from China for int’l company. But there is an issue, we are a company that outsourced the factory in China, this goods will be shipped directly to our clients to some certain countries. We issue for them the invoice and packing list from our company, but CO is with the name of our supplier (factory). We don’t want our clients to see the factory details, this detailed are usually reflected on CO. Is it possible to issue the CO with our company details, but goods are made in China. How to obtain it, can factory(manufacturer) get it on our behalf. Otherwise the confidentiality of our outsourced factory will be known for our clients, which doesn’t secure our business. How to deal with it? Thank you in advance!

  40. Kseniia says:

    We are the canadian company and we are going to export tiles, marbels, composite decking and siding materials from China to Canada. What certificates does Chinese manufacturer have to obtain in order to be able to export to Canada? Thank you

  41. Koolhi says:


    My company is exporting fishes from Madagascar to China. I’m asking if the stamp is required to all copies of the GACC “certificate of origin” (duplicate and triplicate). The malagasy custom only signs the original.

  42. Svitlana says:


    I order have a many items, they are not placed in one page of certificate of origin. Could you show me how must be 2nd and 3th pages in certificate of origin? i need sample. My broker say first and second form pages are different.

  43. Kitja says:

    Dear sir/madam,

    I import electronic component from China.
    normally I pay money by T/T to my supplier by USD currency.
    now I want to pay by RMB,
    But my supplier said, “They can not apply the Form E by RMB currency.
    the China goverment accept to show the item 9 by USD only”
    is it correct?

    best regards

  44. Touraj says:

    Dear Xixi
    I’m importer of Printers and inks from China to Iran. I import Printing machines and inks from China, this time I have bought UK inks from China but we needs write “Country of origin UK” just for inks and for Machine “Country of Origin China”, But the shipper told me they can not issue CO that writ Country of origin UK (also in bottle of inks has written Made in UK) , Before I got this kinds of CO from China without any problem, how can I understand my shipper? would you please help me. thanks
    regards Touraj

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