In two previous articles titled "Getting Started With Exports to Canada," published in PARCEL in August 2011 and "Getting Started Exporting Part 2" published in October 2012, I dealt with a number of details regarding exports to Canada. In the following article we will review completing the NAFTA form. 

As stated previously, each item to be exported should have an assigned harmonized classification. Details of the classification process were discussed in the article "Classifying Products According to the Harmonized System" in the February 2012 edition of Parcel Magazine. 

You can find the most recent Canadian Harmonized tariff numbers and duty rates at If the classification you arrive at for your product is has a duty rate assigned, obtaining reliable information about whether your product qualifies for NAFTA becomes more important. Also if your product is Mexican or Canadian origin and is likely to be returned to the US, it would be helpful to have a certificate of origin to assure duty free return to the United States. You can find an editable sample NAFTA form at: . The following are some additional tips to assist in filling out the NAFTA form. 

Field 1 The first thing to note that you might tend to skip is the Canadian tax identification number. In the US we refer to this number as the IRS number or EIN Exporters Identification Number. Be sure to obtain these tax ID numbers so there is no delay in processing your shipment at destination. 

Field 2 The Blanket Period is generally completed for a one year term. The form instructions give the impression that you can fill out the form for any time period and then file a subsequent form . In practice, there is no provision for a three month period or six month period . However you can update the document that you have on file at any time. 

Field 3 &4 The Producer is the manufacturer of the merchandise. Oftentimes, the exporter is not the producer. Most often where the product is “produced” defines the country of origin of the goods being shipped. 

Fields 5 & 6 For simplicity we recommend that the description should be a match to the wording used in the tariff book for the six digit classification that is applicable. In previous articles we have recommended the US Customs system CROSS as a reliable resource for defining the appropriate classifications or an experienced US Customs broker. 

Field 7 The Preference Criterion is generally not “A” unless the product being shipped is something which has been extracted from the ground. Preference criterion “ B” is the most common. Criteria "C "through F are highly specialized and require careful review. 

Field 8 Producer This is perhaps the most often misunderstood field in the form and yet it is critical for solid compliance or application of the NAFTA principles. You are instructed to state “Yes” if you are the Producer or “No” if you are the not the shipper-just the exporter. If you are not the producer you are to state how you know the goods qualify by using code 1, 2, or 3 after the word “No” . 

If you have specific and reliable knowledge that the good qualifies for NAFTA use code “1”. To my way of thinking you would never use “NO 1”. You might use "NO 2" if you received an initial letter from your vendor that the goods were of US, Canadian or Mexican origin with the promise to provide a certificate of origin shortly. But your standard should always be “NO 3.” Obtain a NAFTA certificate from your vendor on products you export to Canada or Mexico if you are claiming NAFTA duty free status. 

Fields 9 RVC field is a more complicated field than we have time to discuss here. This field is not used by a lot of shippers other than to indicate NO. 

Fields 10 and 11 Country of Origin and Signature are clearly explained by the form itself. You, the exporter, are responsible for the accuracy of this form. 

Summary: In this article we discussed some elements of the NAFTA certificate that are not always understood by exporters. By indicating “B” in field 7 and “US” in field 10 you are declaring that the goods that are being shipped have qualified for NAFTA because they have undergone substantial value additions that resulted in a change in tariff heading or addition of value significant enough to qualify for US origin according to the NAFTA Regional Value Content rules for this tariff number. My suggestion to you is to obtain competent advice or competent staffing to assure your products being declared as NAFTA qualified are actually supported by NAFTA compliant documentation.