WCO Origin Conference 2014, 20-21 January 2014 in Brussels

29 January 2014

The WCO organized its Origin Conference in Brussels on 20-21 January 2014.

The Conference was chaired by the WCO Deputy Secretary General Sergio Mujica and attended by more than 100 participants, including representatives from Customs administrations, international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), academic institutions, as well as private stakeholders and other interested parties.

The participants highly appreciated key note speeches from Mr. Vangelis Vitalis, Ambassador of New Zealand to the EU, NATO and Sweden, and from Mr. Antoni Estevadeordal, Manager of Integration and Trade at Inter-American Development Bank. Ambassador Vitalis especially suggested origin rules to be: simple, coherent, pro-growth oriented, based on substantial transformation, and constantly updated. Mr. Estevadeordal raised a number of emerging questions at the coming era of Mega-regional FTAs.

The participants shared national practices relating origin specialized unit, origin verification, advance rulings on origin, and origin irregularities, and were also provided with latest information on electronic certificates of origin and online verification system developed by the ICC, and a self-certification regime that the EU plans to introduce in 2017.

The participants heard major problems stemming from origin rules and procedures, which the private sector faced with when to utilize preferential tariff treatment. It was widely shared that the WCO should continue to work with other international organizations and the business community in order to improve the utilization of preferential tariff treatment for economic growth and better regional economic integration.

The WCO received very positive feedback in relation to the origin tools and instruments and inputs for the future work in the area of origin, including enhanced cooperation between all stakeholders in order to jointly improve Customs performance and business compliance.

In his closing remarks, the WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya stressed that the proliferation of agreements on a multilateral, regional and bilateral level made Customs management of origin rules and procedures a real challenge, and that there was a need for consistency, predictability and transparency. In order to assure this, the WCO would continue to focus on the best practice approach particularly for the procedural aspects of rules of origin for regional economic integration and economic growth.

To consult the conference programme and the presentations please click here