Trade & investment

ICC Policy Statement on Non-Preferential Rules of Origin for commercial policy purposes

  • 11 November 2016

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), as the world business organization speaking on behalf of enterprises in every sector and part of the world, released its Policy Statement on Non-Preferential Rules of Origin for commercial policy purposes at the biannual World Chambers Congress in Turin, Italy.

ICC calls for a standstill in implementing country-specific origin rules and for mutual recognition of non-preferential rules of origin until the WTO’s Agreement on Rules of Origin (ARO) comes into force. It is essential for the promotion of international trade and economic growth that the origin of a good is only determined once – regardless of how many countries it is exported to.

As regulators and consumers increasingly exercise their need and right to know more about the origin of the products they encounter, in the absence of clear and multilateral guidelines, non-preferential rules of origin for commercial purposes constitute an increasingly critical administrative burden for business of all sizes and in particular for small and medium sized enterprises. In its Policy Statement, ICC therefore urges governments to refrain from rolling out country specific and diverging non-preferential rules of origin and offers the business community’s full support in moving forward on multilateral sectorial agreements if WTO Members continue to fail to make progress in the negotiations on the ARO.

While acknowledging the challenges for Customs administration to familiarize themselves with foreign rules of origin, ICC highlights that cooperation between customs administrations can be organized much more easily compared to the cost of implementing numerous different rules of origin regimes by countless enterprises.