WCO Publishes Comprehensive Study on Accumulation/Cumulation

03 July 2024

The World Customs Organization (WCO) has released an in-depth study on the cumulative rules of origin. This Study meticulously reviews the cumulation provisions of existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and presents the administrative practices of WCO Members regarding cumulation. The primary aim is to provide a detailed overview of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) incorporating cumulation, and the procedural requirements relating to cumulation. Additionally, the study highlights Members’ practices in implementing these rules, including certification requirements and verification practices.

In 2017, the WCO published a “Comparative Study on Preferential Rules of Origin,” which analyzed the Rules of Origin (ROO) provisions across major trading states and preliminarily examined cumulation rules within 47 FTAs. However, the 2017 study primarily focused on the provisions of these FTAs and did not explore the administrative management and implementation challenges, which are also considered among the most complex aspects of applying cumulation rules.

Continuing its efforts, the WCO Secretariat has expanded its research on cumulation and developed additional technical tools. At its 139th and 140th Sessions in June 2022, the WCO Council endorsed the Strategy Plan 2022-2025 and the Implementation Plan 2022/2023. A key component of the Implementation Plan 2022/2023 included studying cumulation across multiple FTAs as part of revenue collection efforts.

To achieve these objectives, the WCO Secretariat conducted an extensive document review of 398 FTAs in force, using the WCO Trade Tools (Origin Database). Based on the preliminary findings, the Secretariat solicited input from Customs Administrations to gather information on implementation practices. Responses from 29 Member Customs administrations across six WCO regions were collected and compiled into the comprehensive "Study on Accumulation/Cumulation".

The Study encompasses three key components:

  1. Technical Explanation of Accumulation/Cumulation: Provides detailed technical explanations and examples of cumulation, categorizing different types.
  2. Overview of Document Review: Summarizes the findings from the review of existing FTAs, detailing cumulation rules and procedural requirements.
  3. Case Studies on Administrative Implementation: Features real-world examples from Customs Administrations on implementing cumulation rules.

Additionally, the study includes an annex titled "Categorisation List on Cumulation of the FTAs," which offers supplementary information.

The Study serves to support Member administrations by offering technical insights into cumulation rules and administrative management practices. The “Study on Accumulation/Cumulation” is currently available solely in both English and French.