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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 24, 2010

Guilderland chamber will supply CO stamps

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND – In this age of global economics, is anything made here anymore?

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said Erika Gauthier, the program and membership manager for the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber is looking for local manufacturers to offer them certificate of origin stamps. The service is free to chamber members, and $30 per certificate for nom-members.

So far, Gauthier said, two local businesses use the service — Atlas Copco Comptec in Voorheesville and MetWeld International on Ostrander Road in Guilderland.

Gauthier did research on services offered by other chambers of commerce and discovered a chamber in Delaware that offered COs; she thought it would be a fit for Guilderland.

A certificate of origin is a document used in international trade that typically states what nation shipped goods originated from.

“I’m their best customer,” said Jessica Mauro, the shipping planner for Atlas Copco Comptec. As a chamber member, her company regularly uses the CO stamp.

Atlas Copco Comptec makes large-scale compressors, sized for industrial applications; a typical part to be shipped may cost as much as $1.5 million, Mauro said.

MetWeld International is involved in fluid processing for the aviation, chemical, oil, and gas industries.

According to the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation, headquartered in Paris, chambers of commerce are, in most countries, the key agent in the delivery of COs.

“The role of chambers of commerce delivering certificates of origin can be traced back to the 1923 Geneva Convention,” says the ICC website. “Under the convention, its signatory governments were obliged to make the process and procedures as simple as possible for companies requiring certificates of origin. In addition, it was specified that the State may allow these certificates to be issued by other organizations, ‘which possess the necessary authority and offer the necessary guarantees’ to the State. Thus, due to the widespread network of the chamber of commerce community in nearly all countries around the world, and its facility and ease, plus respected reputation of serving the business community, in most countries, chambers of commerce issue certificates of origin.”

After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists’ attacks on the United States, federal regulations on international shipping tightened, said Mauro, and this Aug. 1 more stringent rules will go into effect.

“You used to be able to ship to India or Saudi Arabia on your word,” she said. “Not any more. Now you need to document the supply chain,” she said.

That’s where the certificates of origin come in.  “Certificates of origin help support your claim,” Mauro said. “Certain governments require embassy legalization as well as a certificate of origin,” she said. That can cost in the neighborhood of $100 a document, she said.

Fees from a freight forwarder, to serve a similar purpose as a CO, would add up, she said.

“You’re getting a deal if you belong to the chamber of commerce,” said Mauro. “I use the service several times a week, for free, plus get all the other chamber benefits.”

Annual membership with the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce ranges from $225 to $400, depending on the number of employees a business has, said Gauthier.

“A lot of my contracts, I can’t bill until I provide these documents,,” said Mauro. “The chamber is a big help.”

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