Certificate of origin
In the course of international trade, and particularly since the creation of the European Union, any article exported must have attached to it, or be accompanied by, a certificate of origin. This states the country from which the goods are deemed to have originated – although in the course of production they may have been partly processed in a variety of countries. The identification of the true country of origin is made necessary because tariff laws differ from one country to another and between the EU and the outside world, e.g. tariffs payable on goods brought into France are not constant but may vary according to whether they have originated in another EU country or, say, India or Hong Kong. Likewise, in the U.K., goods originating in Common Market countries will be loaded with different tariff charges from those entering from Commonwealth countries. This fact has been at the root of many arguments opposing British entry into the common market. It is felt that the loss raditional Commonwealth sources could be detrimental. In fact, special arrange:nts had to be made for certain British Dominions before the final step to membership of the EU was taken.
Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.