Common digital platform for issuance of certificates of origin

Commerce minister Piyush Goyal on Monday launched a common digital platform for issuance of electronically generated Certificates of Origin (CoC) in New Delhi, which will function as a single access point for exporters and other concerned agencies.

This platform will be a single access point for all exporters, for all FTAs/PTAs and for all agencies concerned. Certificate of Origin will be issued in paperless format if agreed to by the partner countries. Authorities of partner countries will be able to verify the authenticity of certificates from the website. Further, it provides administrative access to Department of Commerce for reporting and monitoring purposes. 
The platform offers benefits such as:
  • Issuance process that is electronic, paperless and transparent;
  • Real-time tracking of FTA utilisation at product level, country level etc;
  • Certificate of Origin issued electronically;
  • Possible to electronically exchange CoO with the partner countries; and
  • Reduces transaction cost and time for the exporters;
Exporters may register on this platform and apply for CoOs to any of the designated agencies. EIC and its agencies are already on-boarded. Other agencies are in the process of registering on the platform. The on-boarding process is only for the purposes for payment integration so that the application fees may flow to the respective agencies.
The platform will be made live for FTAs in a phased manner as per the concurrence of the concerned partner countries. Various territorial divisions have already informed their partner countries. The platform is scheduled to start with the India-Chile PTA.
Further, once the partner countries agree to an electronic data exchange, the CoOs will be electronically sent to the Customs of the partner countries. After this, there will not be any need for physical CoO copy, saving transaction cost and time for the Indian exporters.
India has 15 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)/ Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with various partner countries under which Indian exporters avail reduced import tariffs in the destination country. In order to avail this benefit, the exporters must provide a preferential CoO. About 7 lakh certificates are issued annually by designated agencies. These verticals certify that exported goods are made in India. These certificates are issued by designated agencies in India after vetting of the rules of origin criteria as per the respective FTA/PTA. Some designated agencies for CoO issuance are EIC, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Textile Committee and Tobacco Board.
At present, preferential Certificate of Origin is issued from the various notified agencies around the country through manual processes. A new common digital platform for issuance of electronic preferential CoOs has been conceptualised to address various challenges in the current process. The platform has been designed and developed by DGFT and Regional & Multilateral Trade Relations (RMTR) Division, Department of Commerce, ministry of commerce and industry.