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Scope and application of the WTO Agreement on Rules of Origin

Agreement terms

Article 1 of the Agreement defines rules of origin as those laws, regulations and administrative determinations of general application applied to determine the country of origin of goods except those related to the granting of tariff preferences.

Thus, the Agreement covers only rules of origin used in non-preferential commercial policy instruments, such as:

  • Most favoured nation (MFN) treatment
  • anti-dumping and countervailing duties
  • safeguard measures
  • origin marking requirements
  • discriminatory quantitative restrictions or tariff quotas
  • trade statistics
  • government procurement

Disciplines to Govern the Application of Rules of Origin

Under the Agreement, Members are obliged to adhere to the following disciplines:

  • Not to use Rules of Origin as instruments to pursue trade policy objectives.
  • Not to create restrictive, distorting or disruptive effects on international trade.
  • Not to discriminate against imports and exports or between Members.
  • To administer Rules of Origin in a consistent, uniform, impartial and reasonable manner.
  • To base Rules of Origin on a positive standard.
  • To publish laws, regulations, judicial decisions and administrative rulings relating to Rules of Origin.
  • To provide origin assessments upon request.
  • Not to apply changes in Rules of Origin retroactively.
  • To treat confidential information confidentially.