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Trade and Industry Department The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Brand Hong Kong - Asia world city

Certificate of Origin Circulars

24-hour hotline : 23 922 922

e-mail address :

Ref. : FRCP 1000/2/1

3 January 2017

Dear Sirs,

Certificate of Origin Circular No. 1/2017

Commercial Information Circular No. 1/2017

The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) 
Mainland 2017 Tariff Codes for Application for Certificate of Hong Kong Origin - CEPA ("CO(CEPA) ")


This circular informs traders about the Mainland 2017 tariff codes (i.e. Harmonized System (HS) codes) for the goods entitled to zero tariff preference under CEPA for the purpose of applying for CO(CEPA)s. 


2.      Consignments claiming CEPA zero tariff preference must be supported by CO(CEPA)s issued by the Trade and Industry Department (TID) or Government Approved Certification Organizations (GACOs)1.  In submitting CO(CEPA) applications in 2017, traders need to use the applicable Mainland 2017 tariff codes.  The 1,823 Mainland 2016 tariff codes under CEPA have been re-classified into 1,885 Mainland 2017 tariff codes.  List of goods entitled to CEPA zero tariff preference and their corresponding rules of origin (ROO) are set out in the table "Goods entitled to CEPA Zero Tariff Preference - Mainland 2017 Tariff Codes, Product Description and Rules of Origin".  This table can be downloaded from TID's webpage <> or obtained from the Factory Registration and Origin Certification (FR&OC) Branch of TID.

Certificate of Hong Kong Origin - CEPA ("CO(CEPA) ")

3.    All CO(CEPA) applications (including fresh submissions, re-submissions and amendment requests) have to be lodged through electronic trade document submission services.  Traders may register with the relevant Government appointed Certificate of Origin ("CO") Service Providers2 to use the electronic services.  Traders who have not registered with the Service Providers can also make use of the designated Service Centres arranged by the Service Providers for submitting CO(CEPA) applications.
4.           For CO(CEPA)s issued in 2016 (with the Mainland 2016 tariff codes quoted therein), even if they will only be used to claim CEPA zero tariff preference in 2017, traders need not amend for the 2017 tariff codes.  The Mainland Customs has agreed to accept CO(CEPA)s bearing Mainland 2016 tariff codes in 2017 as long as they are issued in 2016 and remain valid.
5.        In case the CO(CEPA) concerned was issued in 2016 and has to be amended before being used to claim zero tariff preference in 2017, applicants should continue to quote the Mainland 2016 tariff codes and need not amend for the Mainland 2017 tariff codes as the amendment will not alter the issue date of the CO(CEPA) concerned.

Conditions for Issuing of CO(CEPA)

(i) Rules of Origin (ROO) 

6.      Goods manufactured in Hong Kong must satisfy their corresponding CEPA ROO, in order to be treated as Hong Kong origin and enjoy the zero tariff preference under CEPA.  List of goods entitled to CEPA zero tariff preference and their corresponding ROO are set out in the table "Goods entitled to CEPA Zero Tariff Preference - Mainland 2017 Tariff Codes, Product Description and Rules of Origin" mentioned in paragraph 2 above.  In addition, to claim zero tariff preference under CEPA, goods must be transported directly to the Mainland from Hong Kong.

(ii) Factory Registration and Manufacturer's Authorized Signatory 

7.      Manufacturers must be registered with TID for Factory Registration (FR) before they are eligible to apply for CO(CEPA)s.  Operators in the fisheries sector who would like to apply for CO(CEPA)s in the capacity of "manufacturer" to cover fish or aquaculture products should likewise be registered for FR.  FR application form specifically applicable to these operators can be downloaded from TID's webpage <> or obtained from the FR&OC Branch of TID.
8.    FR registrants are legally bound to observe all conditions of registration and they have to ensure all registration particulars (e.g. address, ownership, products, line of production, machinery, etc) are accurate and up-to-date.  FR registrants are also required to register with TID the up-to-date Hong Kong HS codes for the goods they produce.  If FR registrants fail to update their registration particulars or their CO(CEPA) applications cover goods of Hong Kong HS codes that are not registered with TID, their CO(CEPA) applications will be deferred or rejected.  It is therefore in the interest of manufacturers/subcontractors to provide TID with up-to-date information by returning completed form "Application for Amendment of Registration Particulars under Factory Registration (FR)" as and when necessary.  The form can be downloaded from TID's webpage <> or obtained from the FR&OC Branch of TID.
9.      Traders were informed via the Certificate of Origin Circular No. 9/2004 issued on 28 July 2004 of the requirements regarding authorized signatories of manufacturer on applications for, inter alia, CO <>. Manufacturers, who make use of the electronic trade document submission services should ensure that the persons registered with the Service Providers for signing electronic applications should be identical to the authorized signatories registered with TID.
10.     To protect the interest of the trade and as a measure to uphold the integrity of Hong Kong's origin certification system, any CO(CEPA) application which is not signed by the authorized signatory of the FR registrant will be deferred or rejected.  Traders should therefore make sure that their CO(CEPA) applications are lodged by their authorized signatories.

(iii) Labelling Requirements 

11.   Origin marking or labelling is not mandatory for goods exported to the Mainland for CEPA zero tariff preference.  However, if a trader would like to apply origin markings on goods for export under CEPA, they should mark their goods as "Made in Hong Kong" provided that the CEPA ROO is met.  For fish and aquaculture products, the marking or labelling of "Made in Hong Kong" can be applied only if the fish and aquaculture products are (a) born and bred in Hong Kong, or (b) obtained in Hong Kong waters.

(iv) Additional Requirements for Traders Who Wish to Include Product Development Cost in the CO(CEPA) Applications 

12.     Traders who wish to include product development cost in their CO(CEPA) applications for products with "value-added content" as ROO must fulfill additional conditions.  Details are set out in Certificate of Origin Circular No. 24/2003 on "Additional Conditions for Including Product Development Cost in CO(CEPA) Applications" issued on 14 November 2003
<> .

(v) If the Value of Raw Materials and Component Parts of Mainland Origin is Included in Calculating the "Value-Added Content" 

13.     Traders who wish to include the value of raw materials and component parts originating from the Mainland when calculating the "value-added content", in addition to complying with the original FR requirements under CEPA, they have to submit to TID the additional Declaration and Undertaking Form (Form FRVAC 1).  Manufacturers should return the abovementioned Declaration and Undertaking Form to TID's FR&OC Branch at least 7 working days before submitting CO(CEPA) applications. Upon acceptance of the relevant additional Declaration and Undertaking Form, TID will issue a "reference number" to the manufacturer.  Details are set out in Certificate of Origin Circular No. 2/2012 on "Requirements for Including the Value of Raw Materials and Component Parts of Mainland Origin in the "Value-added Content" Origin Rule" issued on 19 March 2012 <>.

Applications for CO(CEPA)

14. In submitting a CO(CEPA) application, traders should provide all required information accurately.  Applicants have to comply with the following requirements -

  1. The exporter, manufacturer, and subcontractor (if applicable) have to make the following declaration in the CO(CEPA) application:

    CEP - I declare that the goods described in this application comply with the origin requirements specified for those goods in the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).
  2. Each CO(CEPA) can only be used to cover one batch of goods entering into the Mainland at the same time.
  3. Traders are required to provide the Mainland 8-digit tariff codes corresponding to the goods concerned according to the applicable "Customs Import and Export Tariff of the People's Republic of China".
  4. Each CO(CEPA) can cover a maximum of 20 product items with their Mainland 8-digit tariff codes, and all of them must be goods eligible for zero tariff preference under CEPA.
  5. For each product item that corresponds to a Mainland 8-digit tariff code, a separate entry has to be provided for each of the following:
    • number and type of packages;
    • quantity and quantity unit; and
    • FOB value in Hong Kong dollars. 
  6. Rules of Origin: Manufacturers should clearly state the principal manufacturing processes performed in the field "Principal Process(es) Done by Manufacturer and Outworker in HK".  Where "Change in tariff heading" and/or "Value-added content requirement" is the origin criterion of the concerned products, it should be so stated.
  7. Some fields will require the input of data codes, which represent the corresponding Chinese description of the information :
  8. The port of discharge declared on the CO(CEPA) applications should be the customs port to which the importer will submit the claim for zero tariff preference.
  9. The consignee's information will appear on the CO(CEPA).  Exporters cannot choose to hide such information on the CO(CEPA).
  10. Under normal circumstances, the departure date should be at least 2 clear working days after the date of submission of the application. Request for retrospective issuance of CO(CEPA) will not be entertained.
  11. Materials imported into the Mainland for processing trade are not covered by the zero tariff preference under CEPA and hence should not be included in CO(CEPA) application.

15.     Traders are advised to read the "Note for Traders Lodging CO(CEPA) Applications" carefully before applying for CO(CEPA).  The Note can be downloaded from TID's webpage
<> or obtained from the FR&OC Branch of TID.

Processing and Approval of CO(CEPA) Applications

16.    Target turnaround time for processing CO(CEPA) application is 1.5 clear working days (excluding day of receipt)3.  Traders are reminded that TID will no longer count Saturday as a working day since the implementation of "5-Day Week" from 1 July 2006.  Notwithstanding this, GACOs will continue to maintain services on Saturday mornings and they will count Saturdays as working days.
17.  In addition, since 1 May 2016, TID and GACOs have been issuing electronic CO(CEPA)s.  Upon approval of the CO(CEPA) application, trader will receive an electronic approval message as well as a print-out of the electronic CO(CEPA) (specimen is at  Appendix I).  Traders may save and/or print the print-out according to their needs, and they are no longer required to collect the CO(CEPA)s from TID or GACOs.  
18.    After the issuing organizations approve the CO(CEPA)s, relevant information of the approved CO(CEPA)s will be transmitted to the Mainland General Administration of Customs electronically to facilitate customs clearance and tariff processing of the consignments in the Mainland.

Validity Period of CO(CEPA)

19.    CO(CEPA) is valid for 120 days from the date of issue.  An expired CO(CEPA) cannot be accepted for claiming zero tariff preference.

Request for Amendment

20.       If amendment is required for an approved CO(CEPA), traders should lodge an amendment request within 30 days from the date of issue.  Issuing organizations will only consider the request for amendment provided that the CO(CEPA) has not yet been used for claiming zero tariff preference and has not yet expired.  Issuing organizations will also consider each amendment request on its own merits.  If the amendment request is approved, traders will receive an electronic approval message and a print-out of the amended CO(CEPA).  Traders should note that the issue date of the amended CO(CEPA) will remain the same as the original issue date.

Request for Cancellation

21.     If a CO(CEPA) is subsequently not used for claiming CEPA zero tariff preference, the trader concerned should lodge a request for cancellation.  Traders should note that a CO(CEPA) will expire by 120 days after the date of issue, irrespective of whether the CO(CEPA) is cancelled or not.

Application for Certified True Copy

22.   Should there be reasonable needs, traders may apply to the issuing organization of CO(CEPA) for a certified true copy (TID's application form is at Appendix II, or obtainable from the FR&OC Branch of TID).  Application for a certified true copy of CO(CEPA) must be fully substantiated by documentary evidence.  The issuing organization will consider each case on its own merits and reserve the full right to approve or reject the application.

Customs Clearance

23.    In claiming CEPA zero tariff preference, Mainland importers must provide the Mainland Customs with the certificate number of CO(CEPA) and other relevant documentation (such as import declarations).  Nevertheless, the submission of print-out of CO(CEPA) is not necessary.  Mainland Customs will verify the information of CO(CEPA) against the information declared by the importers.  If the information is verified to be in order, the imported goods will be granted zero tariff treatment.  Please refer to the announcement of the Mainland General Administration of Customs for the latest arrangements of customs clearance of goods in Mainland.
24.    In the event that the information cannot be verified through electronic means, the Customs at the port of clearance may, at the request of the importer, act in accordance with the stipulated import procedures and release the goods.  However, a deposit of an amount equal to the tariff charged at the applicable non-CEPA import tariff rate will be collected for the goods concerned pending the result of subsequent verification.
25.   Moreover, if the Mainland Customs at the port of clearance has doubts about the authenticity of the content of a CO(CEPA), it may collect a deposit of an amount equal to the tariff charged at the applicable non-CEPA import tariff rate before releasing the goods.  The Mainland Customs may then request the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) for verification of the status of the CO(CEPA) concerned.  The Mainland Customs at the port of clearance will, in accordance with the verification results, proceed with the procedure to either return the deposit or convert the deposit into import tariff.
26.   In the event that traders encounter problems in customs clearance of goods covered by a CO(CEPA), they may seek assistance from the FR&OC Branch of TID (tel. no.: 3403 6432 or email address:  However, TID will not accept any liability in cases where the Mainland authorities do not accept the claim for CEPA zero tariff preference. 

Handling of Information

27.  CO(CEPA) issuing organizations will keep the data provided by traders in strict confidence.  However, TID may under certain circumstances disclose such data to C&ED or other government departments, or to third parties within or outside Hong Kong. These circumstances include the following: the disclosure is necessary to facilitate the consideration or verification of the CO(CEPA) in question; the disclosure is authorized or required by the laws; or an explicit consent to the disclosure is given by the traders concerned. 

Important Note

28.  It is the responsibility of traders to complete the application for CO(CEPA) fully and truthfully, and provide the supporting documents as required under the issuing conditions for CO(CEPA).  Failure to provide accurate and complete information may affect the consideration and processing of the application, and may result in the application being deferred or rejected. 


29.  TID and GACOs work closely with C&ED, through checks and inspections, to ensure compliance with the provisions of Import and Export Ordinance, Cap. 60 and its subsidiary legislations as well as the Protection of Non-Government Certificates of Origin Ordinance, Cap. 324.  Companies/registered businesses/individuals may be liable to criminal prosecution for circumventing the conditions of CO(CEPA). A company/registered business/individual which commits an offence under the above Ordinances is liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of HK$500,000 and 2 years' imprisonment.  Moreover, TID and GACOs may take administrative actions against the traders concerned irrespective of whether they have been prosecuted.  Such administrative actions may involve, but shall not necessarily be confined to, any or all of the following: refusal to issue a CO including CO(CEPA); suspension of all kinds of certification facilities; suspension/cancellation of FR of the company/registered business/individual concerned. 


30.      For enquires on the content of this circular, please contact us through the following channels -

Address : Factory Registration and Origin Certification Branch
14/F, Trade and Industry Tower
3 Concorde Road, Kowloon City
Hong Kong
Telephone No. : 3403 6432
Fax No. : 2787 6048
E-mail Address :

Yours faithfully,

(Calvin CHOY)
for Director-General of Trade and Industry

1  The GACOs are the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce; the Federation of Hong Kong Industries; the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong; the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong.
2  The Government appointed CO Service Providers are Tradelink Electronic Commerce Limited ("Tradelink") and Brio Electronic Commerce Limited ("Brio").
3  If the CO(CEPA) application is selected for pre-issue inspection, the processing time would be longer.