WTO MC 11 Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium

I presented during the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium organised by ICTSD International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and held alongside the WTO ministerial conference in Buenos Aires 11-13 December 2017.

I joined Gail Strickler, Christophe Bellmann, Rafael Cornejo, Stefano Inama and Mustafizur Rahman during a panel entitled “Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Rules of Origin”.

Please see below the description of the session from the event’s website and the recording of the panel.

“​Regional trade agreements (RTAs) and particularly deep integration agreements concluded in recent years have increasingly allowed firms to operate within a networked global economy. On the other hand, however, RTAs also have also created limitations, not least through the use of strict rules of origin (RoO) which disincentivise the use of cheaper parts and materials from countries outside a particular trading block. By limiting the ability of firms to take part in value chains spreading across various RTAs, the diversity and complexity of RoO can therefore limit efficiency gains opportunities offered by globalisation. Strict and diverse sets of rules of origin may also prevent developing countries including least developed countries from fully benefiting from the enhanced market access granted through preferential schemes or negotiated under their RTAs. A possible solution could be pushing for the simplification and harmonisation of RoO, seizing on the momentum the issue has gained within the WTO after Bali and Nairobi as well as through the negotiations under way in the context of mega-regional agreements. The session will provide an overview of the most pressing issues concerning RoO with regard to their design, implementation, purpose, restrictiveness, and utilisation and will explore the most effective way to go in promoting the harmonisation and simplification of inclusive RoO, to be achieved through a cumulation scheme.”