Certificate of Origin – Your Guide and Application Process

In the realm of international trade, the Certificate of Origin (COO) stands as a pivotal document, affirming the birthplace of the exported goods. As the Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce, we take pride in our pivotal role of issuing these certificates, ensuring that local businesses seamlessly navigate the complex tapestry of global trade. Understanding and obtaining a COO is not just about compliance; it’s about opening doors to new markets and creating opportunities for growth and expansion. This guide is tailored to provide comprehensive insights into Certificates of Origin, delineating their importance, types, and the application process, especially focusing on how our esteemed members and the broader business community can leverage this tool for their international trade endeavors.

Understanding the Certificate of Origin

A Certificate of Origin is more than just a document; it’s a passport for goods traversing international borders. It certifies that the products exported from one country are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured, or processed in a specific region. This verification is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Trade Compliance: Many countries require a COO for customs clearance, ensuring that goods meet the legal standards for importation.
  2. Tariff Reductions: Under various trade agreements, goods from certain countries are eligible for reduced tariffs. A COO can be the key to unlocking these preferential rates, significantly lowering the cost of export.
  3. Market Access: Some markets are only accessible if the goods meet specific origin criteria. The COO serves as proof that these criteria are met.

There are two primary types of Certificates of Origin:

  • Non-Preferential COOs: These are used for general export purposes and do not confer any benefit of reduced tariffs under trade agreements.
  • Preferential COOs: Issued under specific trade agreements (like SADC, EU, etc.), these certificates allow exporters to benefit from lower tariffs or exemptions in participating countries.

In essence, the COO is not just a formality but a strategic tool in international trade, opening doors and creating pathways for businesses to expand their global footprint.

The Role of Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce

At the Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce, we are more than a facilitator; we are partners in your global trade journey. Our accreditation and authority to issue Certificates of Origin place us at a unique vantage point to support our local business community in their international trade ventures.

Our role encompasses:

  • Verification and Authentication: We rigorously verify the information provided by exporters to ensure compliance with international trade regulations. This process instils confidence in both exporters and importers, ensuring that transactions are built on a foundation of trust and legitimacy.
  • Guidance and Support: Navigating the complexities of international trade can be daunting. Our experienced team offers guidance and support, helping businesses understand the nuances of CO requirements and ensuring that their applications meet all necessary criteria.
  • Advocacy and Representation: As a Chamber, we represent the interests of our local businesses on various platforms, advocating for policies and practices that facilitate smoother and more efficient trade.


Our commitment goes beyond the issuance of certificates. We strive to empower businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in the global market. By availing our services, local businesses not only gain access to an essential trade document but also become part of a supportive network that champions their growth and success in the international arena.

Pricing for COO Application

When it comes to obtaining a Certificate of Origin, we believe in providing value while maintaining affordability for our business community. Our pricing structure is designed to be competitive and accommodating for both our members and non-members:

  • Members:  R200
  • Non-Members: R300


Remember, investing in a CO is not just a regulatory requirement; it’s an investment in your business’s growth and global reach.

Eligibility and Requirements

When it comes to obtaining a Certificate of Origin, we believe in providing value while maintaining affordability for our business community. Our pricing structure is designed to be competitive and accommodating for both our members and non-members:

  • For Members of the Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce: The cost for each COO application is R200. This preferential rate is part of our commitment to adding value to our membership and supporting our local businesses in their export endeavors.
  • For Non-Members: We extend our services to the broader business community at a cost of R300 per COO application. This rate ensures access to our expert services and the assurance of obtaining a valid Certificate of Origin.

Remember, investing in a COO is not just a regulatory requirement; it’s an investment in your business’s growth and global reach.

Eligibility and Requirements

Whether you’re a seasoned exporter or new to international trade, understanding the eligibility and requirements for obtaining a COO is crucial. The Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce is committed to making the process of acquiring a Certificate of Origin as straightforward as possible.


  • All exporters, whether members or non-members of the Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce, are eligible to apply for a COO.


  • A completed CO application form.
  • Proof of origin of goods, which may include manufacturing invoices, supplier declarations, or production records.
  • Detailed description of the goods being exported.
  • Supporting documents as required by the specific type of CO (preferential or non-preferential).

It’s essential to ensure that all documents are accurate and complete to avoid any delays or complications in the application process.

Step-by-Step Application Process

Applying for a Certificate of Origin is a streamlined process, designed to be efficient and user-friendly. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Preparation: Before applying, ensure you have all the necessary documents ready. This includes your export invoice, proof of origin, and any other relevant documentation.
  2. Application Submission: Access our CO application platform through the link below:


  3. Filling Out the Application: Complete the application form with accurate details about your shipment. Include a comprehensive description of the goods, their origin, and destination.
  4. Document Upload: Upload all supporting documents directly on the platform. Ensure clarity and legibility of all uploaded documents.
  5. Review and Submission: Once you’ve filled out the application and attached all necessary documents, review your submission for accuracy. Submit your application along with the appropriate fee (R200 for members, R300 for non-members).
  6. Chamber Review: Our team at the Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce will review your application. If additional information is needed, we will contact you promptly.
  7. Issuance of the CO: Upon successful verification, your Certificate of Origin will be processed and issued.

Processing Time & Delivery

Processing Time and Delivery

We understand the importance of time in international trade. Therefore, the Tzaneen Chamber of Commerce is committed to processing your Certificate of Origin application promptly. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Processing Time: The processing is electronic and the processing time is immediate (same day).
  • Delivery Method: Upon approval, your Certificate of Origin will be issued electronically through SMARTADMIN. You will receive a digital copy of the CO, which is widely accepted by customs authorities worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A CO is a document that certifies the country of origin of the exported goods.

It is often required for customs clearance, tariff determination, and meeting import regulations of the destination country.

Apply online via SMARTADMIN, filling out the application form and uploading the required documents.

Yes, non-members are welcome to apply, albeit at a different fee structure.

The standard processing time is immdiate (same day).