The WCO has established a global database of preferential trade agreements and related rules of origin in accordance with the Action Plan to improve the understanding and application of preferential rules of origin endorsed by the WCO Council in June 2007.
The database enables users to access and study preferential trade agreement texts and their related rules of origin provisions either by means of choosing a country on a drop-down list, on a world map or via a list of agreements in alphabetical order. The database also has a function allowing users to compare the core texts of rules of origin provisions of two to four different agreements. Moreover, the database will reproduce specimens of proofs of origin (origin certificates) used in the agreements.
The database reproduces the core text of rules of origin provisions (general origin provisions) for all agreements contained therein. While the complete legal text of the trade agreements and all annexes/appendices of the rules of origin provisions are not reproduced in the database, the legal texts of agreements and annexed rules of origin provisions (namely the product specific rules of origin) may be consulted via the indicated web address/es under the factual sheet reproduced for each agreement. These factual sheets provide the following information in respect of the various agreements:
- the countries involved in the trade agreement
- the date of entry into force of the agreement
- its actual status (still active: yes – the database lists only agreements in force)
- the type of agreement (free trade agreement, etc.)
- the web address/es of the official website/s of the agreement
Furthermore, the application offers several keywords of commonly used terminology existing in origin provisions which highlight these keywords in the legal text.
Agreements are generally written in English and French and sometimes in other national languages in which they are negotiated. The Database currently contains more than 300 agreements. Access to the informative Database is free for Members of the WCO and, from March 2011 onwards, will be available to the private sector for a small annual fee.