World Chambers Federation

Certificate of Origin experts meet in Paris to strengthen trade documentation

  • 10 December 2013
Occasional Intermediary Contract

Trade experts from Chambers of Commerce in more than 30 countries have met at the ICC Hearing Centre in Paris for the latest in a series of dialogues on recent developments in Certificates of Origin (CO), including electronic certificates of origin (eCOs), the issuance of preferential certificates of origin (PCOs), and Self-Certification.

The talks help strengthen cooperation between chambers of commerce, reinforcing the central role of trade documentation in global trade facilitation.

Discussions were chaired by Peter Bishop, Deputy Chair of ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF) International CO Council, and Deputy Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce. He said: “It was encouraging to see such an impressive array of participants representing over 30 countries, all aiming to improve trade facilitation for global businesses of all sizes in meeting origin requirements.”

With the ninth ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) going on in Bali, a presentation by Darlan Fonseca Marti, Economic Affairs Officer at the WTO, was especially significant. Mr Marti showcased recent developments in the WTO regarding Rules of Origin (RO), including the latest work on preferential rules of origin for least developed countries, and on harmonizing non-preferential RO. He also highlighted the importance of the WTO ministerial conference, which took place last week in Bali, and the hope for a trade facilitation agreement, sharing insight into the opportunities for the business community should an agreement be reached.

“The meeting’s input from WTO economist Darlan Marti was particularly timely as encouraging news on a Doha Round breakthrough emerged from Bali shortly after our Certificate of Origin meeting concluded,” added Mr Bishop.

CO Accreditation Chain and CO Verification website

Chamber representatives also heard a report from Accreditation Committee Chair, Nigel Rudd, on the status of potential International CO Chain members, together with an overview of the application process to become a CO Chain member.

During the meeting, ICC WCF announced the coming launch of the CO verification website, which will provide Customs authorities the unique opportunity to verify online the authenticity of Certificates of Origin issued by participating chambers. The platform’s official launch date is 21 January 2014, timed to coincide with ICC WCF’s presence at the next World Customs Organization (WCO) Technical Committee on Rules of Origin (TCRO) meeting in Brussels.

Reports by CO regional coordinators

Calling on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to accept electronic Certificates of Origin, Atiq Nasib, Senior Director, Commercial Services Sector at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, described current Customs Clearance procedures in the Federation of GCC Chambers. Participants heard how the Dubai Chamber had made CO applications possible via smartphone, a development that will be showcased during the next ICC WCF CO Council meeting in June 2014.

Christophe Coulie, Legal Affairs Manager at the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce, shone light on the array of CO-related activities in Europe. These include the European Union’s new Union Custom Code, which come into effect in June 2016, and European Commission’s initiative on the mandatory labelling of origin on consumer goods.

New eCO Task Force and Roundtable discussions

Underpinning the effective role of chambers in issuing electronic CO, the CO Council approved the creation of an electronic Certificate of Origin Task Force to raise the level of acceptability of eCO by customs administrations around the world, and support the expansion of the CO Chain. The new taskforce will be chaired by Luc Dardaud, who manages the Trade Facilitation department at the Paris Ile-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Roundtable discussions included a dynamic debate on the position of chambers on Trusted Traders Programs such as Authorised Economic Operators (AEO), prepared by the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation. Other sessions tackled developments relating to PCO issuance and self-certification. Participants discussed at length the challenges encountered with chambers as an authorizing body to issue Preferential COs, as well as the issues self-certification raises for SMEs.

For more information visit ICC WCF Certificates of Origin