RTA Exchange Policy Dialogue I

In November 2016, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) organised the first policy dialogue as part of the RTA Exchange project in the context of the E15 Initiative.

The policy dialogues engage key stakeholders – trade and investment policymakers, and business and thought leaders – in discussions on free trade agreements and wider trade policy to support regulatory coherence and promote convergence.

This first event focused on exploring ways in which to harmonise the rules of origin, thereby making them more inclusive.

The discussion touched on the FTA utilisation rates and how rules of origin impact various sectors. It also centred on how strict and diverse sets of rules of origin affect the ability of developing countries (including LDCs) to fully benefit from the enhanced market access granted through preferential schemes or negotiated under FTAs.

I gave a presentation on how the preferential origin regime applies to global value chains, outlining the key challenges companies face when trading under FTAs. For papers written based on this presentation, please see The Preferential Origin Regime and Global Value Chains (HERE) and Preferential Origin Regimes Must Reflect the Complexity of Global Value Chains (HERE).