Rules of Origin

What are the NAFTA rules of origin?

Each NAFTA country retains its external tariffs vis-à-vis non-members' goods and levies a lower tariff on the goods "originating" from the other NAFTA members. Rules of origin provide the basis for customs officials to make determinations about which goods are entitled preferential tariff treatment under the NAFTA. Negotiators of the agreement sought to make the NAFTA's rules of origin very clear so as to provide certainty and predictability to producers, exporters and importers. They also sought to ensure that the NAFTA's benefits are not extended to goods exported from non-NAFTA countries which have undergone only minimal processing in North America. The NAFTA rules of origin are included in Chapter Four of the Agreement. The product-specific rules of origin for NAFTA are contained in Annex 401. For more information on the NAFTA rules and origin and customs procedures, please refer to the Guide to Importing and Exporting in Canada.


The product-specific rules of origin of the NAFTA are periodically amended to reflect changes in industry production practices and sourcing patterns as well as to ensure their consistency following periodic amendments to the World Customs Organizations’ Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).

  • Amendments to Annex 401 (Track 3)
    On September 1, 2009 Canada implemented measures to amend some of the product specific NAFTA rules of origin.  Mexico implemented these same amendments on October 1, 2009, and the United States on October 2, 2009. The amendments liberalize the  rules of origin applicable to agricultural, consumer, industrial, mineral fuel and oil products, representing over US$140 billion in annual trilateral trade.
  • Amendments to Appendix 6, Annex 300-B (July 1, 2009)
    On July 1, 2009, Canada and the United States implemented measures to liberalize the NAFTA rules of origin applicable to certain textile goods which are made from acrylic staple fibres, that are not available from domestic producers in commercial quantities – the so-called “short-supply” goods.
  • List of Amendments to Annex 401 (July 1, 2006)
    On July 1, 2006, Canada and the U.S. implemented measures to liberalize some of the product specific NAFTA rules of origin. On July 5, 2006, Mexico implemented these same measures.The amendments liberalize the rules of origin applicable to cocoa preparations, cranberry juice, ores, slag and ash, leather, cork, certain textile products, feathers, glass and glassware, copper and other metals, televisions and automatic regulating or controlling instruments.

For information on the following documents, please visit the Library and Archives Canada search page and type "NAFTA Rules of Origin".

  • Amendments to Appendix 6, Annex 300-B (July 1, 2005)
  • List of Amendments to Annex 401 (January 1, 2005)
    • Annex 401 (as of January 1, 2005)
  • List of Amendments to Annex 401 (January 1, 2003)
    • Annex 401 (as of January 1, 2003)
  • Technical Rectifications 2002
    • Appendix 1 (Annex 300-B, Appendix 6 Special Provisions)
    • Appendix 2 (Proposed Amendments to Annex 401 and Annex 403.1)
    • Appendix 3 (Annex 401 Tariff Items for NAFTA)
    • Appendix 4 (Proposed Amendments to Uniform Regulations for Chapter Four)
    • Appendix 5 (Uniform Regulations for Chapters Three and Five)
    • Tariff Items for NAFTA
    • Annex 401 (January 1, 2002)
  • Technical Rectifications 2000

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information on this site or the consequences of its use. The treaty data on this site has been prepared for convenience of reference only.

Any errors, omissions or anomalies on this site may be brought to the attention of the Tariffs and Goods Market Access Division (TPG) .

Most of the treaties in force for Canada are published in the Canada Treaty Series (CTS), available at many public libraries, or from bookstores dealing in government publications, or directly from the Canadian Government Publications website.