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How to Save on Customs Duties with CBP Form 434

CBP Form 434:  Certificate of Origin

You’ve decided to start your own business at last and plan to go expand beyond national borders in a year or two. A lot of new things are ahead: searching for reliable customers, exhausting negotiations, the excitement of the first deal and tons of international trade documents.

In this blog post we are going to discuss all the details of the Certificate of Origin, one of the most widely used documents in foreign trade. This document is so important that it has its own history.

The North American Free Trade Agreement was concluded in 1994 between the United States, Mexico and Canada. This agreement created one of the world’s largest free trade zones and led to economic growth and the development of trade connections between the member countries.

The free trade zone means that the exporters and goods producers can import goods to a member country without any fees or with preferential tariff rates at the customs. The exporter must provide all the usual documents to accompany the goods though, including the Certificate of Origin. The certificate is used only by the countries of the North American Free Trade Agreement and serves as a claim for lower customs duties.

What is CBP Form 434?

The exporter or producer fills out this certificate and provides it to the importer at customs. Accurate and full completion is the key to entering the country without paying duty.

What is the purpose of CBP Form 434?

The Department of Homeland Security uses this form to get information about the exporter and producer. The certificate also contains detailed information about the goods imported to the country. Based on this data, the US Сustoms and Border Protection makes a decision on entering the country without paying duty.

What other forms do I attach to CBP Form 434?

The certificate of origin is usually accompanied by the commercial invoice and bill of lading. Depending on the nature of the goods, the Customs officer may ask the importer to provide other supporting documents.

When is CBP Form 434 due?

The certificate accompanies the goods until they arrive at сustoms. The exporter has to complete and certify it before shipping. Keep in mind that this document is essential for the goods being imported to the country at lower customs rate.

What information do I provide in CBP Form 434?

The certificate of origin consists of four main parts:

  • The first part contains information about the exporter including name, email, address and tax identification number. The exporter also has to indicate here the blanket period of the certificate. This is applicable only if the certificate covers multiple shipments of identical goods.
  • The second part provides the contact details of the producer and the importer.
  • The third part describes the goods. There are several columns here and the exporter completes them paying attention to the header.
  • The fourth part is the certification. The exporter or producer adds their signature here including the name of the company, phone number and email.

What do I do with the CBP Form 434?

The completed and signed certificate of origin is attached to other documents accompanying the cargo and is forwarded to customs.