The World Customs Organization (WCO) Enhances Expertise in Rules of Origin for the MENA Region

26 January 2024

The World Customs Organization (WCO) organized a Regional Workshop on rules of origin for the MENA Region, held from January 14 to 18, 2024, in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The workshop, conducted in both Arabic and English with simultaneous interpretation, was funded by the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority (ZATCA).

Attended by 21 Customs officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar, and the UAE, the workshop targeted individuals with a high level of competency in Rules of Origin matters. The main objective was to enhance the competencies of expert trainers and Customs officers responsible for rules of origin.

In his opening address, Mr. Yazeed ALHADLAQ, the General Manager of the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Academy, expressed gratitude to the WCO for enhancing expertise in rules of origin. Mr. ALHADLAQ emphasized the significant role of rules of origin in international trade, inviting participants to leverage the training for a deeper understanding, thereby benefiting the MENA Region. Furthermore, he encouraged the sharing of experiences and perspectives on the current situation in their respective countries, fostering discussions on challenges related to regional rules of origin. Additionally, he underscored ZATCA's commitment to addressing the highest-priority topics for the MENA Region in trade facilitation, a commitment reflected in the WCO Regional Workshop on Rules of Origin for the MENA Region, covering essential themes.

The workshop explored substantial themes, examining the complexities of rules of origin in international trade, origin certification, verification procedures, advance rulings, and good practices to better address origin irregularities faced by their administrations.

Participants actively engaged in fruitful discussions, sharing insights from their respective national Customs experiences. The discussions highlighted the potential impact of mitigating disputes related to rules of origin within their respective administrations. Additionally, there was an emphasis on navigating challenges linked to free trade agreements, creating a dynamic and collaborative training environment.

The successful conclusion marked positive feedback, with participants expressing appreciation for the invaluable insights and experiences shared during this regional workshop.

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