Chapter 8 - Origin Verifications
The NAFTA authorizes the importing country's customs administration to conduct verifications of the exporter or producer to determine whether goods qualify as originating as certified by the Certificate of Origin. Verifications are principally conducted by written questionnaires and verification visits. Other methods of verification can be done by telephone, facsimile or other means.
Questionnaires may be sent by the importing country to an exporter/producer who executed a Certificate of Origin. They are used to help determine if the exporter's/producer's goods meet the NAFTA rules of origin. The information requested on the questionnaire should be information used by the exporter/producer to determine whether its goods qualify for NAFTA preferential treatment before signing the Certificate of Origin. If insufficient information is provided on the questionnaire to make a determination of origin, a Customs officer may obtain additional information by undertaking a customs verification visit. After the customs authority of the importing country establishes whether the good originates, it must issue a written determination to the exporter/producer indicating its findings.
Verification visits are performed by the customs administration of the importing country in the territory of the exporting country, and are used to verify that the exporter's/producer's goods meet the NAFTA rules of origin.
Prior to conducting a verification visit, the customs administration must provide written notification of its intention to conduct the visit to the exporter or producer whose premises are to be visited, and to the customs administration and the embassy of the NAFTA country in whose territory the visit will occur. Written consent from the exporter or producer whose premises are to be visited must be obtained prior to conducting the visit. The exporter or producer whose goods are the subject of a verification visit has the right to designate two observers to be present during the visit.
If an exporter or producer of goods that are subject to a verification of origin does not consent to the verification visit within 30 days of receiving notification of the proposed visit, or does not cooperate during the visit, preferential NAFTA tariff treatment may be withdrawn from the goods. The exporter or producer will still have the right of review and appeal against this determination.
An origin determination is made upon completion of a verification visit. This determination can be reviewed and appealed in the importing country. Any confidential business information that is collected may only be disclosed to authorities who are responsible for the administration and enforcement of determinations of origin, and of customs and revenue matters.