WCO supports West African Economic and Monetary Union Member States on Rules of Origin

24 noviembre 2021

The World Customs Organization (WCO), at the invitation of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), facilitated a Sub-regional Workshop on Rules of Origin for its Member States. This Workshop was conducted in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) from 15 to 19 November 2021, and was attended by 29 officials from Customs, Industry and Trade administrations.

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

During the Workshop, the WCO facilitators presented various technical and practical issues for proper origin determination by providing a lot of case examples under their rules of origin in force, including the Guidelines on Origin Certification, Preferential Origin Verification and Advance Rulings, which have been designed to assist WCO Members in smoothly running origin related procedures. Participants were also informed about the infrastructure necessary for efficient origin management, issuance of advance rulings and provision of effective training and private sector outreach.  The WCO Guide to counter origin irregularities (excluding fraud), the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union and AfCFTA Rules of Origin were also presented.

During this intensive five-day Workshop, the participants were able to examine several practical case studies and discussed specific areas of concern, including the lack of knowledge and use of the FTAs and challenges linked to administrative cooperation and overlapping rules of origin. 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 Customs, Trade and Industry Administrations in the correct application of Free Trade Agreements, in particular the WAEMU, the EPA and AfCFTA and will help Member States benefit from the regional and continental economic integration and promote exports of originating products while ensuring a correct application of preferential treatments for boosting intra-African trade and international trade.