• Certificates: ICO, EUR1, GSP, Insurance, Other


    ICO certificates of origin 

    ICO certificates of origin are issued for every international shipment of coffee from producers to consumers (whether the importing country is an ICO member or not), and are used to monitor the movement of coffee worldwide. The forms contain details of identity, size, origin, destination and time of shipment of the parcels in question. ICO certificates were particularly important when ICO export quotas were in force as they were also used to enforce the quota limits for individual exporting countries. The certificates are now less important (and some consumer countries no longer insist on them) but it is in the interest of exporting countries to comply with ICO regulations on certificates of origin as they enable the ICO to monitor coffee movements and produce accurate statistics on each country's exports.

    Moreover, from 1 October 2002 all ICO exporting members are required to ensure that all coffee issued with certificates of origin complies with the minimum quality standards indicated by ICO resolution 407 (see 11, Coffee quality).

    Preferential entry certificates: Countries that levy duties or taxes on coffee imports sometimes grant duty exemptions to certain exporting countries. Entitlement to remission of duty or tax is obtained by submitting an official certificate of exemption (EUR1, GSP and others). Individual sales contracts often state that an exemption certificate must be provided where appropriate. This certificate must accompany the shipping documents, failing which the buyer is entitled to deduct the duty difference from the invoice and pay only the balance. The seller will be able to obtain refund of the shortfall by submitting the required certificate retroactively but only if the buyer in turn is able to obtain this within the applicable time limit from the authorities in the country of importation. Sellers who are in doubt about whether such a certificate is required should ask their local chamber of commerce or trade authority. Note also that under ECC a buyer may stipulate a country of importation other than that of the port of destination.

    Insurance certificates: Under a CIF contract the seller must provide an insurance certificate, issued by a first-class insurance company, showing that insurance has been effected in accordance with the terms of the sales contract. The certificate must enable the buyer to claim any losses direct from the insurance company. The certificate entitles the holder to the rights and privileges of a known and stipulated master marine insurance policy that may cover a number of shipments. The certificate therefore represents the policy and is transferable with all its benefits by endorsement in the same manner as bills of lading.

    Other certificates: There are an increasing number of other certificates available for special contractual requirements. Some, such as weight and quality certificates, are supplied by recognized public or private organizations in the country of origin, and have various formats. Others, such as health, phytosanitary and non-radiation certificates, are often supplied on application by government bodies, in a set format prescribed by local law and regulations. The variety of formats available for special purpose certificates is so great that it is not practical or useful to discuss them here.

    Shippers should be familiar with the format of local certificates and should investigate their availability and cost before entering into any contractual obligation; otherwise they may be unable to supply a document at all or may require a price increase to cover costs.

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