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ICC underscores lack of coherence between various FTAs rules of origin

May 11, 2017

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) issued recommendations to alleviate the challenges traders and suppliers face due to the lack of coherence among preferential rules of origin requirements across the globe.

The recommendations were issued as customs and business representatives from all over the world convened last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the complexities behind rules of origin at the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Global Origin Conference.

Bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) have multiplied, with over 400 such deals currently in existence, including "mega-regional" FTA negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The proliferation of agreements has led to confusing and inconsistent market entry arrangements, which are particularly felt by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have fewer resources. As new FTAs increasingly overlap existing ones, diverging rules of origin regulations and procedures are becoming a trade barrier along the whole supply chain.

The ICC issued eight recommendations aimed at streamlining certification procedures, such as allowing 'extended cumulation' or 'cross cumulation' between common agreements and developing common procedural standards for customs verification of origin documentation.

Link: Business recommendations on rules of origin in preferential trade agreements

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