WCO hosts 40th Session of Technical Committee on Rules of Origin and workshop virtually on 7 and 8 February 2022

11 February 2022

The World Customs Organization (WCO) hosted the 40th Session of the Technical Committee on Rules of Origin (TCRO) on 7 February 2022. The meeting of the Technical Committee, which was chaired by Ms. Nan Ding (China Customs) and opened with welcoming remarks by Mr. Konstantinos Kaiopoulos, Director of the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate, and Ms. Gael Grooby, Deputy Director of the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate, was attended by over 100 delegates from around the world. Observers from the WTO, UNCTAD and the International Chamber of Commerce were among the delegates.

The meeting was updated on intersessional developments in relation to the WCO Action Plan on Preferential Rules of Origin, the Revenue Package, capacity building and the practical application of rules of origin, including implementation of advance ruling systems. The representative of the WTO Secretariat, Mr. Darlan Marti, briefed the Technical Committee on the activities of the Committee on Rules of Origin (CRO) and the developments which had taken place at the WTO with respect to rules of origin.

Special attention was given to the new www.wcotradetools.org database which offers a single point for accessing the Harmonized System, preferential rules of origin and Customs valuation using an entirely new interface. As well as introducing a new interface design and new search and comparison engines, this new platform collates over 350 free trade agreements with their preferential rules of origin and product-specific rules.

The Director also briefed the Technical Committee on the WCO/JICA Joint Project, funded by Japan, relating to the Master Trainers Programme for the respective West and Central Africa and East and Southern Africa regions, and on the agreement between the WCO and the European Commission concerning the Origin Africa Project. The aim of this project is to strengthen intra-African trade as part of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and to facilitate trade through the coordinated and harmonized implementation and application of rules of origin by the Regional Economic Communities, Customs administrations and other African administrations and economic operators concerned. As part of this project, the WCO additionally hopes to develop tools and instruments that will be of benefit to all WCO Members.

Following on from the 40th Session of the TCRO, a Virtual Workshop on the Data Analytics Approach and Preferential Rules of Origin was held on 7 and 8 February 2022. The Agenda covered, in particular, the Nairobi Ministerial Decision, the comprehensive review of the Revised Kyoto Convention, practical data analysis and the administration of Rules of Origin.

This event was a resounding success in terms of participation, high-level speakers and the wide-ranging nature of the topics and issues discussed at a global level as well as the interactions between Customs, the private sector and the international organizations involved.