Trade & investment

Certificate of Origin experts meet to strengthen trade documentation

  • 24 April 2013

More than 60 chamber trade experts from more than 36 countries have met to continue a series of dialogues on electronic certificates of origin (eCOs), preferential certificates of origin (PCOs) issuance and self-certification.

Strengthening trade documentation ties among the chamber network and reinforcing its central role in global trade facilitation, discussions took place in Doha at a Certificate of Origin Council meeting in Doha.

Bryan Clark, Director of Trade and International Affairs of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented recent Free Trade Agreements in Asia and the growing prominence of self-certification within these agreements.

Participants also discussed at length the challenges encountered with electronic COs worldwide and the importance of obtaining recognition of these documents and their digital signatures by all customs administrations.

Atiq Nasib, Senior Director of Commercial Services at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shared customs processes in the Gulf region and, in particular, urged eCO acceptance to GCC representatives.

The Federation of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Chambers, the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce, the secretariat of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) as well as chambers from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman, participated at the meeting for the first time to frankly address with members the importance of eCos acceptance.

Homin Kang, Executive Director, Public Business Division at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also showcased the Korean eCO system.

During a dedicated Certificate of Origin workshop session at the 8th World Chambers Congress, chambers and customs representatives also exchanged their opinions on topics such as the expanded role of chambers in issuing preferential CO and continued the discussions began earlier that week on acceptance of eCO by customs.

Since 1898 chambers have a proven track record of competence in issuing certificates of origin. During the session customs administrations called on chambers to extend CO issuing services to include Preferential COs (PCO). Represented by Technical Officer Mette Azam at the session, the World Customs Organization (WCO) would favourably consider the liberalization of PCO issuance to bring greater trade facilitation while Liu Ping, Director of the Office of Rules of Origin of China Customs explained why chambers are well suited to issue PCOs, sharing the Chinese experience of designating the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) as a PCO issuing agent.

With the rise of eCO solutions to business, delivered via chambers, speakers from two eCO service providers, Crimson Logic and eCertify, demonstrated their security features in electronic trade documentation production and the convenience of eCO with speedy clearance of Letters of Credit as well as customs clearance.

A presentation by Luc Dardaud of the Paris Regional Chamber of Commerce underscored the benefits brought to the chamber network and business community of the ICC WCF International CO Accreditation Chain, in particular its role to increase surety for the successful deployment, verification and acceptance of eCOs and announced the issuance of the first CO with the ICC WCF CO label on 18 April. The meeting was moderated by Lee Ju Song, Chair of ICC WCF International Certificate of Origin Council, Deputy Chief Executive of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.

More than five million certificates of origin will circulate with the ICC WCF International Certificate of Origin Accreditation seal, with Belgian, Korean, and Dutch chambers joining the chain during signing ceremonies at the 8th World Chambers Congress.

As new members of the chain, the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce join the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Paris Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The International CO Chain was launched by the ICC World Chambers Federation in September 2012 based on its International Certificates of Origin Guidelines, to which chambers can adhere on a voluntary basis. Chamber members benefit from the use of a recognized international quality label and online verification by customs, which reinforce integrity and credibility as competent trusted third parties in the issuance of COs.