• QA 078
    How to specify delivery of an ICO Certificate of Origin under a documentary credit?
    Would the following wording be acceptable in a letter of credit asking for the presentation of an ICO Certificate of Origin? "One original and two copies (1/2) of Certificate of Origin, duly issued, by the ... e.g. National Coffee Board... evidencing the quantity of goods and their origin. Special Conditions: Certificate of Origin must be issued in the format established by the International Coffee Organization and be dated, stamped and signed by the Certifying Agent and Customs Authority."
    Asked by:
    Importer - Romania

    Certificates of Origin issued under the rules of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in London, usually known as ICO certificates, are an important part of the coffee documentation chain. Format and contents are specified by the ICO. Issue and validation is the exclusive domain of ICO approved Certifying Agencies, usually a National Coffee Authority or similar such entity. All certificates must also bear the cachet of the issuing country's Customs Authorities.

    You are therefore correct to require a standard ICO Certificate of Origin, issued in the format established by the International Coffee Organization, specifying the quantity and origin of the goods, and dated, stamped and signed by the ICO appointed Certifying Agency as well as the Customs Authorities of the issuing country. To note that if you specify the actual name of the Certifying Agency then you should please make certain that the name is given correctly in all respects, including the spelling.

    To note also that ICO Certificates are issued in a single original only. The first copy is clearly marked 'for ICO use only' and all additional copies are marked 'for internal use only'. Whether your supplier can deliver the original plus two copies without reverting to photocopy documents will depend on the number of copies the issuing agency concerned normally makes available. We recommend you to make certain of this so as to avoid problems later, for example if the standard conditions of the Letter of Credit were to state that photocopy documents are not acceptable…

    Other than this we believe the requirement you stipulate is acceptable. To note though: as the current International Coffee Agreement (ICA) does not include economic clauses, not all importing member countries currently insist on receiving the ICO Certificate of Origin.

    For more on Certificates of Origin go to www.ico.org, look under Documents, By Category, Executive Board and trace EB 3775/01.

    Posted 23 February 2006

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