The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Rules of Origin, concluded as part of the Uruguay Round in 1994, has opened a new chapter in the history of Customs. Until then, there was no global model for the determination of origin, which is one of the cornerstones of trade policy, trade statistics and general macroeconomic analysis.
The WTO Agreement on Rules of Origin sets out important provisions relating to the application and administration of Rules of Origin, providing for the Harmonisation of Non-Preferential Rules of Origin, those Rules of Origin which are not derived from trade regimes leading to the granting of tariff preferences.
By securing transparency in trade policy, this harmonisation is expected to facilitate international trade. The WTO Committee on Rules of Origin (CRO) and the WCO Technical Committee on Rules of Origin (TCRO) are the two bodies responsible for the full development of this Agreement.
In 1999, the TCRO concluded the technical review of the Harmonized Rules of Origin and these final results were forwarded to the CRO in Geneva for consideration. In 2006, these results are still under consideration by the WTO. (Source: WCO)