WCO regional workshop to promote the WCO Guide on Preferential Rules of Origin for LDCs

26 May 2021

A WCO Regional Workshop on Preferential Rules of Origin for African French Speaking Least Developing Countries (LDCs), funded by India Customs Cooperation Fund, was held in virtual format from 17 to 19 May 2021. The objective of this Workshop was to promote the WCO Guide on Preferential Rules of Origin for LDCs.  This Guide was developed to assist LDCs to benefit to the maximum extent possible from the WTO Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Preferential Rules of Origin for LDCs.

Twelve Customs officials participated actively in the discussions throughout the Workshop, which was facilitated by an expert from the WCO Secretariat and a pre-accredited expert from the region.

During the Workshop, the experts presented the general concept of preferential rules of origin and the WCO Guidelines on certification and verification of origin, providing practical information on how to correctly apply preferential rules of origin. Furthermore, they gave detailed explanations on the various elements of the Nairobi Decision, including useful guidance from a Customs perspective.

The discussion highlighted, among other issues, that the correct understanding and application of preferential rules of origin is key to better implementation and utilisation of the free trade arrangements.  This can be achieved by building more expertise in origin matters, through training and by enhancing stakeholders engagement, as well as by improving and upgrading training and information materials. The participants also expressed the need to implement the guidelines included in the Nairobi Decision in order to review the preference-granting countries’ rules of origin. Finally, many participants noted their willingness to raise awareness about the importance of correct understanding of preferential rules of origin in their national Customs administrations.