By Justinne Marie D. Santos / Market Innovation Division, DTI-EMB
AS part of its continuing effort to educate business people and to acquaint concerned government agencies of recent developments and important technical matters pertaining to trade, the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) held a workshop on Rules of Origin (ROO) on February 28, at the Penthouse of the DTI International Building in Makati City.
ROO are used to determine the country of origin of a product for purposes of international trade. Exporters need to comply with ROO in order to enjoy preferential tariff rates under free-trade agreements.
During the workshop, participants from the business sector and from various government agencies were given an orientation on the general concept of ROO. Tables and statistics were presented to help participants better understand how ROO works and how it can be applied to their advantage. The participants—particularly from the garments, tuna and electronics sectors—took advantage of the opportunity to consult and to clarify compliance with ROO.
The speaker for the workshop was Stefano Inama, the chief of the technical assistance, trade and customs in the Division on African and Least Developed Countries, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva, Switzerland. He is an ROO expert with over 25 years of experience in the design, management, and research and trade-related capacity-building programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, with a focus on legal, regulatory and institutional trade issues, including tariff reform, trade law, regional trade agreements, tariff preferences and ROO governing market access.
The workshop commenced with Inama apprising the participants of the fundamental concepts relating to ROO, which included the preferential and nonpreferential types of ROO and the issues faced both at the multilateral and regional levels. Discussions became more engaging when Inama explained in detail the relatively complicated concepts of cumulation, de minimis/general tolerance rule, prohibition of duty drawback, direct transport rule and principle of territoriality, among other topics.
For ROO to facilitate exports, Inama advised the participants to conduct an input and output analysis and study offensive trade interests before entering into negotiations with market countries.