Towards Convergence on Rules of Origin Between Trade at the Regional and Multilateral Level

Date period
10 March 2017

The ongoing stalemate on the Harmonization Work Programme (HWP) with respect to non-preferential rules of origin (RoO) has left business trade negotiators and customs officials negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) in a “no man’s land.” Progress is clearly needed to ensure trade facilitation, not only for least-developed countries (LDCs), but all states in the period ahead. This paper examines some of the current limitations on RoO and the causes of deadlock. It also reviews lessons learned thus far in the implementation of RoO to put forward recommendations concerning cumulation, administration, and the need to take into account services in the manufacturing process.

The RTA Exchange, jointly implemented by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is a platform that convenes purposeful multi-stakeholder dialogues that work in the interest of constructing better trade and investment agreements for sustainable development  at the regional and multilateral levels.