A Certificate of Origin (CO) helps to attest the origin of goods. There are two types of COs, namely ordinary COs and preferential COs. An ordinary CO, also known as a non-preferential CO, is a trade document that helps to identify the origin of the good.
You may refer to this handbook for more information on the rules of origin for ordinary COs.
What is a preferential Certificate of Origin (PCO)?
A preferential CO allows your buyer to pay lower or no customs duty when you export your goods under a Free Trade Agreement or Schemes of Preferences. To check whether the goods are covered under the Free Trade Agreement or Schemes of Preferences and the preferential tariffs, you may refer to Enterprise Singapore’s Tariff Finder Tool to assist you.
These handbooks provide more information on the rules of origin for preferential COs issued under Free Trade Agreements and Schemes of Preferences:
You may use the FTA Cost Statement Calculator for a preliminary assessment of the qualifying value content and/or Change in Tariff Classification status of your manufactured good under a specific Free Trade Agreement, after you have identified the applicable origin criterion(a) for the good under the Agreement.
Who can issue an Ordinary Certificate of Origin (OCO)?
Ordinary COs are issued by Singapore Customs or any of the following authorised organisations:
Apart from Singapore Customs, these authorised organisations do also issue ordinary COs for locally manufactured or processed goods, and goods from other countries which are re-exported from Singapore. However, they do not issue ordinary COs for the export of Singapore-origin textiles and textile goods to the United States of America.
All Preferential COs are issued only by Singapore Customs.
For more information on:
You are accountable as an exporter or declaring agent for the export of your goods. We encourage you to take note of the following Dos and Don’ts:
✔ Inform Singapore Customs if there is any change in your company’s particulars to ensure you receive timely updates on regulatory changes.
✔ Know the export procedures and declaration requirements before you export.
✔ Ensure you provide the necessary supporting documents and information for permit declarations to your declaring agents and freight forwarders.
✔ Ensure your declaring agents and freight forwarders understand and properly execute your instructions.
✔ Know the contents of each consignment you export and clarify with relevant parties if needed.
✔ Keep your supporting documents for a minimum of 5 years.
✔ Check with the relevant Competent Authority on their requirements to export controlled items.
✔ Ensure product details (for example, HS code, quantity) are correctly declared.
✔ Ensure you comply with all permit conditions stated in the permit.
✔ Ensure your driver or transport service provider produces the permit for endorsement at the checkpoint if the permit bears such a condition.
✖ Deny Singapore Customs officers’ requests to enter your premises or to check your documents.
✖ Make a declaration without verifying the authenticity of all supporting documents.
✖ Declare that goods are of Singapore origin when they were only imported and re-exported from Singapore without qualifying for their origin status.
✖ Share your TradeNet user ID and password with other persons.
✖ Use your company’s UEN to export goods not belonging to you unless you are involved in taking the goods out of Singapore for export and are willing to declare yourself as the exporter on behalf of the party that issues the export invoice, or you are acting as a consolidator for customers without a UEN. In doing so, you are responsible for complying with all the regulatory requirements. Please refer to Customs Circular No. 12/2013 for more information on the responsibilities of an exporter.
Companies may be penalised under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act (RIEA) if they do not comply with requirements relating to rules of origin.
Examples of common offences
Making a false declaration
Deliberate false declaration of country of origin
Declaring non-Singapore origin materials from local suppliers as Singapore-origin
Incorrect trade descriptions
Affixing false labels of origin on textile goods
Failure to retain documents for the minimum retention period
Retaining supporting documents for preferential tariffs claimed under the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement for 3 years instead of the minimum 5 years
For minor offences under the RIEA, Singapore Customs may offer to compound the offences for a sum not exceeding S$5,000 per offence. Offenders may be prosecuted if the offence committed is of a fraudulent or serious nature.
Penalties upon conviction for key offences
Penalty Upon Conviction
Making a false declaration. (Section 28(1)(a) of the RIEA)
Incorrect Trade Descriptions. (Section 28A(1)(a) of the RIEA)
Failure to comply with requirements of the Director-General for the issue of preferential CO (Regulation 24B(4) of the RIER)
A fine not exceeding S$10,000, or imprisonment not exceeding 2 years, or both.
First conviction: A fine not exceeding S$100,000 or 3 times the value of the goods in respect of which the offence was committed, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.
Second or subsequent conviction:A fine not exceeding S$200,000 or 4 times the value of the goods in respect of which the offence was committed, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
Learn more about the prescribed offences and penalties under the Customs Act and the RIEA.