Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have agreed to ask the chair of the Committee on Rules of Origin to consult with delegations and propose a way forward on an initiative aimed at enhancing transparency regarding non-preferential rules of origin.
The initiative, which was originally proposed in January 2019, would require members to notify the WTO Secretariat the rules of origin they use in the application of most-favoured-nation treatment to imports, using an agreed notification template.
Members would outline their practices with respect to certification of origin and other mandatory documentary proofs of origin for non-preferential purposes, using an agreed template, and notify the WTO Secretariat of substantive changes to their rules of origin and related documentary requirements.
Proponents argue the proposal would close information gaps and make it easier to access up to date information about non-preferential original requirements, something that would be useful not only for members governments but also for customs administration’s businesses and trade operators. This, they say, would ultimately lead to clear and predictable rules of origin which would in turn facilitate the flow of international trade.