October 22, 2019
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Rules of Origin

Photo by 童 彤 on Unsplash

There is no international definition of Origin, although a distinction is made between two systems: preferential and non-preferential. In the case of preferential Origin, everything is based mainly on bilateral or multilateral agreements. In the case of non-preferential Origin each country applies its own rules, although within some regional economic unions the non-preferential rules are harmonized for all the Member States of the Union concerned.

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in the International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention), defines rules of origin as “the specific provisions, developed from principles established by national legislation or international agreements ("origin criteria"), applied by a country to determine the origin of goods.”

The country of origin must not be confused with the country of provenance (i.e., the last country that the goods passed through). The purpose of rules of origin is to determine the “nationality” of a good. The determination of the country of origin is, alongside tariff classification and Customs valuation, an essential factor for establishing the amount of the Customs duties and taxes payable. The origin of a good will also determine, where appropriate, the application of any trade policy measures (quotas, anti-dumping duties, trade embargoes…).

The explanation provided by WCO Academy, which provides an online course related to the topic: Rules of Origin

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Customs may carry out post-clearance verification of the preferential origin of goods. As a result, a letter from customs might appear on the importer's desk stating that the preferential tariff treatment has been denied. In this article, we look at what is the process of post-clearance verification of preferential origin set out in some of the free trade agreements of Canada, the UK and the EU. Also, we provide practical examples and suggestions on how the preferential origin-related risk could be managed by importers.

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