Navigating the complexities of trade: Key takeaways from the 3rd WCO Global Origin Conference

14 November 2023

The World Customs Organization (WCO) successfully convened the 3rd WCO Global Origin Conference in Santiago, Chile, on 8 - 9 November 2023. Supported by the Korea Customs service, the European Union, and private sector partners, this event attracted over 400 participants from 82 countries, consolidating its prominence as a global forum for origin-related discourse.

Themed "Building Trust in the Origin Environment," the conference featured 35 speakers across six panel sessions and two origin business talks. The rich diversity of participants – hailing from Customs administrations, international organizations, academia and the private sector- fostered a holistic exploration of Origin matters.

The discussions ranged from ways to leverage Rules of Origin for economic development and trade facilitation. Equally significant was the emphasis on the correct application of preferential and non-preferential treatments to realize underlying policy goals. The dialogues were robust, with a focus on enhancing comprehension of the current state and future trajectory of Rules of Origin.

The conference delved into the complexities of Rules of Origin, addressing challenges faced by stakeholders in navigating the intricate web of trade agreements. Discussions also explored aligning rules of origin and requirements with environmental goals; the pivotal role of preference utilization rates in shaping international trade dynamics, and the significant influence on future frameworks governing the origin of goods on the global stage.

In his closing address, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, lauded the conference as a pivotal platform for knowledge exchange and collaborative advancement in international trade. He expressed gratitude to the participants for their insightful contributions and reaffirmed WCO’s dedication to furthering this agenda in partnership with the World Trade Organization (WTO), other international organizations, the business sector, and academic institutions.

A notable highlight was a video message from His Excellency, Mr. Gabriel Boric Font, President of the Republic of Chile, conveying his appreciation, congratulating the Director General of the National Customs Service of Chile and WCO Secretary General and finally commending the WCO’s choice of Chile as the conference’s host. The Undersecretary of Interior, Mr. Manuel Monsalve Benavides, also sent a message of support that was played during the conference.

In the margins of the conference, Secretary General Mikuriya met with the Minister of Finance, Mr. Mario Marcel, and discussed the challenges facing customs administrations while advocating for further digitization of processes, including the use of Single windows. He also met with the Undersecretary of International Economic Relations, Claudia Sanhueza Riveros and addressed important isues such as the role of Customs in the implementation of trade agreements as well as foreign trade.

The 3rd WCO Global Origin Conference marked a significant milestone in aligning diverse viewpoints on Rules of Origin. The insights garnered are poised to influence future international trade policies, striving for a trading environment defined by trust, efficiency, and sustainability. The conference underscored the imperative of fostering trust among Customs, businesses, and governmental entities to uphold the integrity of global trade processes.