Harmonization of Rules of Origin: An Agenda for Plurilateral Cooperation?

  • Received : 2018.01.09
  • Accepted : 2018.03.02
  • Published : 2018.03.30


This article discusses the deadlock in the WTO on multilateral harmonization of nonpreferential rules of origin (RoO) and reviews some of the RoO included in recent preferential trade agreements. We argue that there is a trend towards adoption of similar approaches and that this suggests that cooperation to reduce the trade-impeding effects of differences in RoO across jurisdictions is more feasible than often is assumed by observers and policymakers. From a trade facilitation perspective such cooperation could be based on plurilateral initiatives under the umbrella of the WTO. These could include a focus on pursuit of greater convergence between preferential and nonpreferential RoO helping to achieve the long-standing goal of moving towards harmonization of rules of origin.


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