Still No Agreement on Harmonized Rules of Origin Work at WTO
Following a Sept. 26 meeting, the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Rules of Origin reported that members continue to be divided on whether or not to work toward the completion of negotiations for harmonized non-preferential rules of origin. These talks began in 1995 and, despite substantive progress on thousands of tariff lines, were suspended in 2007 due to divergences on whether or not the harmonized rules should also apply in the implementation of other trade policy instruments such as antidumping measures.
According to a committee press release, the U.S., Canada and Australia no longer believe that adopting harmonized rules of origin would help facilitate trade, which has changed substantially since the start of the negotiations. Other members, however, including the European Union, China and India, said the globalization of manufacturing operations has made it more important to complete the harmonization work because different national rules of origin are creating labeling headaches for exporters. Switzerland and Taiwan also supported a continuation of the work.