WCO supported Zambia Customs in improved application of Rules of Origin

22 May 2018

Under the patronage of the Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF) China, a World Customs Organization National Workshop on Rules of Origin for Zambia Customs was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia, from 14 to 18 May 2018 and was attended by 30 officials.

Zambia is party to several Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), including the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and is also benefitting from autonomous arrangements for Least Developed Countries.  Within the framework of these agreements, there is a wide range of possibilities for cumulation with other partners, each with specific requirements in regard to rules of origin.

Topics discussed during the Workshop included the key concepts for proper origin determination, related operational and procedural issues, the establishment of an efficient origin management and provision of effective training and private sector outreach.  

During the Workshop, the WCO facilitators presented the Revenue Package initiatives, including the Guidelines on Origin Certification, Preferential Origin Verification and Advance Rulings, which have been designed to assist WCO Members in bringing the provisions in Free Trade Agreements into smooth operation. The WCO Comparative Study on Preferential Rules of Origin and the Database of preferential trade agreements were also presented.

Participants discussed specific areas of concern, including the low level of knowledge and use of the FTAs and challenges linked to administrative cooperation. Discussions also emphasized the importance of verifying the originating status of goods, rather than merely checking the authenticity of the certificate of origin.

The knowledge and experience gained from the Workshop will assist the Administration in the correct application of the Free Trade Agreements and will lead to a reduction in the number of instances of rules of origin based disputes.  This will help Zambia benefit from the regional economic integration, promote exports of originating products and ensure the correct application of preferential treatments for importations.