CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC/ Certification Requirements

CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC Certification Requirements
Trade Talk Blog • August 30, 2021


he CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC – also known as the new NAFTA – addresses the ever-changing trade challenges and is set to facilitate trade between Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

The implementation of CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC changed what would be acceptable on a free trade certificate. No longer is there a standardized format to the certification form, and questions about what is now acceptable are frequent. This article will provide an overview of this new trade agreement and cover the required data elements for CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC certification.


The Canada – United States – Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA) is a trade agreement between these three countries. On July 1, 2020, the agreement came into effect to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In the US, this agreement is referred to as the United States – Canada – Mexico Agreement (USMCA), and in Mexico it is referred to as Tratado entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC).

What is needed to claim preferential treatment under CUSMA/USMAC/T-MEC?

As a Canadian or US importer looking to certify that a good qualifies as an originating good, you can claim preferential tariff treatment based on a Certification of Origin completed by yourself (the importer), the exporter, or the producer of the good.

There is no prescribed format for the certification. You may provide the certification as an invoice or other type of document. You may submit a certificate covering either a single importation or multiple importations of identical goods within a 12-month period. What matters is that the information describes the originating good with enough detail to help customs identify it and assess whether it meets the requirements.

What are the CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC certification requirements and data elements?

To claim preferential tariff treatment under CUSMA-USMCA-T-MEC, you will need a Certification of Origin. As we explained in the previous section, the Certificate of Origin does not have a standard format. Instead, it consists of crucial data elements set out in Annex 5-A of the Origin Procedures Chapter (Chapter 5 of the CUSMA).

The Certification of Origin must contain the following 9 data elements that indicate that the good is originating and that it meets other applicable requirements:

  1. Importer, Exporter, or Producer – Certification of Origin: Specify whether the certifier is the importer, exporter, or producer as indicated in Article 5.2 of Chapter 5 of the CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC.
  1. Certifier: Provide details about the certifier, including name, title, address, country, telephone number, and email address.
  1. Exporter: If the exporter is different from the certifier, provide details about the exporter, including name, title, address, country, telephone number, and email address. Exporter information is not required if the producer is completing the Certificate of Origin and does not know the identity of the exporter. Exporter address indicates the place of export in one of the CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC countries.
  1. Producer: If the producer is different from the certifier or exporter, provide details about the producer, including name, title, address, country, telephone number, and email address. When there are multiple producers, state Various or provide a list of producers. If you want this information to remain confidential, you may comment “available upon request by the importing authorities“.
  1. Importer: Provide – if known – the importer’s details, including name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number. The importer’s address must be in a CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC country.
  1. Description and Harmonized System (HS) Tariff Classification of the Good: Describe the good in sufficient detail to relate it to the good covered by the certification. Also, provide the HS Tariff Classification (to the 6-digit level) located in the Customs Tariff. In the event that the Certification of Origin covers a single shipment, provide the invoice number of the exportation (if known).
  1. Origin Criteria: Specify the origin criterion under which the good qualifies, as set out in Article 4.2 (Originating Goods) of Chapter 4 of the CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC.
  1. Blanket Period: If the certification covers multiple shipments of identical goods for a specified period of up to 12 months, include the period – as set out in Article 5.2 (Claims for Preferential Tariff Treatment) of Chapter 5 of the CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC.
  1. Authorized Signature and Date: The certification must be signed and dated by the certifier and accompanied by the following statement:

“I certify that the goods described in this document qualify as originating and the information contained in this document is true and accurate. I assume responsibility for proving such representations and agree to maintain and present upon request, or to make available during a verification visit, documentation necessary to support this certification.”

If the Certification of Origin is illegible, is defective on its face, or is incomplete, the importer is granted a period of not less than five working days to provide a copy of the corrected Certification of Origin.

What does an exporter need to certify the origin of the good?

An exporter (that is not the producer of the good) can certify the origin of the good. In this case, the certification may be completed by the exporter based on either:

  1. Providing information, including documents, that demonstrate that a good is originating; or
  2. Reasonable reliance on the producer’s written representation that the good is originating.

What does a producer or importer need to certify the origin of the good?

If a producer or an importer certifies the origin of the good, they must have information, including documents, that demonstrate that the good is originating. The certification may be submitted in English, Spanish, or French.

When is a Certification of Origin not required?

A Certification of Origin is not required for importations valued at less than CAD$3,300. Instead, you will be required to provide a commercial invoice containing a statement certifying that the good is originating in a country of a specific FTA. This statement is required to be in the importer’s possession at the time they claim the preferential tariff treatment of that FTA.

To help our customers certify their imported goods under the CUSMA/USMCA/T-MEC, we have created a certificate that meets all the required data elements. You can download this certificate from our Trade Forms page.


Brent Boulter | GHY’s Free Trade Agreement Administrator

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