Certificates Of Origin – Common Questions Answered!

So often, we receive inquiries about the benefits of free trade agreements and whether goods might be applicable for preferential (reduced as a result of free trade, usually to free) rates of duty under a particular agreement.

Here are a few common questions we receive as well as some answers that might help to alleviate any concerns you or your supplier(s) may have had when attempting to claim goods under a particular free trade agreement.


  1. Can I claim preferential rates of duty without having presented a valid free trade certificate of origin, as I am waiting on my supplier to provide me with one? – Unfortunately not, as the legislation applicable to this requirement is clear in that the importer must have on hand at the time of entry, a valid free trade certificate of origin
  2. What happens if I do not have a valid free certificate of origin at the time of entry? – Do not despair, we can still enter your goods and continue with clearance to avoid delays in delivery, however this means that we must pay your duties and taxes upfront to obtain release.
  3. Do I have an opportunity to claim a refund of duties and taxes paid once I have on hand a valid free trade certificate of origin? – Yes, absolutely, in most cases a valid free trade certificate of origin issued specifically for the entered goods may entitle you to lodge a claim for an electronic refund of duties and taxes already paid. Our Customs Broker can facilitate the entire process
  4. What happens if any of the details on my free trade certificate of origin are incorrect or incomplete? – Unfortunately, to be a valid free trade certificate of origin, all required critical fields must be complete and correct. Australian Border Force may accept some small discretionary errors such as a spelling mistake for example, however an accurate goods description, HS code and origin criterion (WP for example) must be provided as are all critical fields.
  5. How do we ensure our document is complete and accurate if unsure? – Whilst the accuracy of information is always the importers responsibility and we urge you to stay informed with regards to free trade matters (DFAT website for example), we also understand that we have the knowledge and expertise to interpret some of the legislation in detail. Please either as an importer or a supplier, send your documents to our office to be checked ‘prior’ to finalisation or shipping to avoid issues upon arrival.
  6. How do I obtain more information about free trade agreements? – Contact our Customs Broker, Neil McLagan, who will be more than happy to assist. neilm@transitainerwa.com.au or 08 9350 5173