CETA Origin Declaration
The purpose of the origin declaration is to certify that the goods are of CETA preferential origin. Simply stating “EU preferential origin” is akin to a Canadian exporter stating “Canada preferential origin”, which would be meaningless as there is no indication that the relevant products meet the Canada-EU CETA rule of origin. Consequently, originating goods are not “EU preferential origin” (as this could mean that they meet the requirements of any FTA that the EU has), but rather “Canada/EU” (or “CM”) origin as they need to meet the particular rules of origin for the Canada-EU CETA.
The text of the declaration is very clear, the statement is either “Canada/EU” or “CM”, nothing else is acceptable. Please refer to footnote to field 3.
The CETA negotiators sought to make this requirement as simple as possible and it is important for exporters to understand that their declaration pertains to this particular trade agreement. The alternative would be the much more burdensome certificate of origin with the trade agreement printed on it. The CETA declaration, however, was an attempt by negotiators to make things easier for the trading community. As a result, two simple sentences are all that is being asked under CETA.
CBSA has advised that the provisions in Article 19, paragraph 7 of the CETA are consistent with their current administration for the electronic transmission of origin declarations. This article reads as follows:
- The Parties may allow the establishment of a system that permits an origin declaration to be submitted electronically and directly from the exporter in the territory of a Party to an importer in the territory of the other Party, including the replacement of the exporter’s signature on the origin declaration with an electronic signature or identification code.
CBSA has also included the relevant parts of Memorandum D11-4-14 Certification of Origin Under Free Trade Agreements dealing with certificates of origin in electronic format.
Certificates of Origin in Electronic Format
- The CBSA acknowledges certificates of origin in electronic format as an acceptable means of certifying the origin of goods. This allows importers to receive and maintain certificates of origin electronically and to transmit those certificates of origin by e-mail to the CBSA, upon request.
- Acceptable formats for electronic certificates of origin include:
(a) scanned certificates of origin – The exporter may scan a completed and signed certificate of origin for electronic transmission to the importer;
(b) certificates of origin with Power of Attorney – The exporter provides the importer with vested power of attorney, thereby authorizing the importer to complete the certificate of origin for the goods. Under this option, the importer must be able to prove to the satisfaction of the CBSA that he/she has the legal authority to complete and sign the certificate of origin; and
(c) e-certificates of origin – The CBSA acknowledges an electronic representation of a cursive signature, or an alternative to the cursive signature, as an acceptable means to certifying the origin of goods. For example, an alternative could be a series of numbers that represents the exporter’s signature. As no one is required to physically sign the document under this option, the certificate of origin can be both created and transmitted electronically, thereby enabling an entirely paperless process. It should be noted that e-certificates of origin must contain all of the prescribed data elements and statements, however they do not necessarily need to mirror the prescribed certificate of origin in terms of their layout and manner in which the data elements and statements are presented. Lastly, the importer is fully responsible for ensuring the secure transmission of e-certificates of origin to the CBSA.
- The decision rests with the importer claiming preferential tariff treatment on the basis of that certificate or statement of origin, to determine whether or not he/she is willing to accept an official document provided by the exporter in an electronic format and/or featuring an electronic representation of a cursive signature, rather than an original document and/or signature.
- As well, the onus rests with the exporter to ensure that the electronic signature that is used in certifying origin is adequately controlled, with limited delegation to subordinates, and is used only in respect of goods where the authorized user has sufficient knowledge of their origin.