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WTO NEWS: 2000 NEWS ITEMS

04 April 2000
WTO holds workshop on rules of origin

About a hundred delegates participated in a seminar/workshop on rules of origin organized by the WTO Secretariat on 30-31 March in Geneva. The aim of the workshop was to familiarize Geneva- and capital-based delegations with the technical issues in the ongoing negotiations to harmonize national rules of origin.

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In opening the workshop, WTO Market-Access Director Heinz Opelz said that one reason why the harmonization work programme, launched in 1995, has not yet been completed was "the enormous technical complexities deriving form the realities of globalization and related multi-country production in goods".

He said that the WTO work programme is "the first ever attempt to create systematic and all-embracing non-preferential rules of origin." Thus, "drafting the architecture of harmonized rules of origin has turned out to be a very complicated and difficult task".

Presentations were given by Mr. Eki Kim of the WTO Secretariat and by two origin experts from the World Customs Organization: Deputy Director of Tariffs and Trade Affairs Miroslaw Zielinski and Technical Officer Hiroshi Imagawa.

The topics of the workshop concerned the overall architecture of the harmonized rules of origin and product-specific rules of origin of agricultural products, textiles and machinery. Many delegations actively participated in the discussions.

A two-week meeting of the Committee on Rules of Origin (formal, informal and plurilateral) will take place from 3-14 April 2000 to continue work on the Harmonization Work Programme.

More information (http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/roi_e/roi_e.htm)