Rules of origin

Preferential treatment provided for in a free trade agreement is usually granted only to products originating from members of that FTA, so rules of origin are important. These are the criteria which determine the national origin of a product. The country of origin of a product is usually seen as the country where the last substantial transformation took place.

Enforcing and defining rules of origin for goods or services poses major problems. This issue has been very controversial in a number of agreements and trade unions and other critics have campaigned to highlight the ways in which rules of origin can be used and abused by governments and corporations alike. In particular there are concerns about the ease with which goods processed partly or fully in a third country can receive duty-free access under a bilateral agreement by being re-exported with just enough processing to satisfy rules of origin requirements. This is further complicated by the fact that different bilateral free trade agreements use different criteria to set rules of origin.

last update: May 2012


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  • 6-Sep-2010 Rules of Origin under US trade agreements with Arab countries: Are they helping and hindering free trade?
    This article analyzes in details rules of origin in the US-Arab countries FTAs.
  • 15-May-2008 Rules of Origin and EPAs: What has been agreed? What does it mean? What next?
    This paper provides an analysis on the significance of changes made to rules of origin during the EPA negotiations
  • 13-Mar-2008 Fresh Plaza ITC launches new investigation on possible modification to the US-Chile FTA rules of origin
    The investigation, Probable Economic Effect of Certain Modifications to the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement Rules of Origin, was requested by the US Trade Representative (USTR)
  • 27-Sep-2006 Textile World Trade bill is a major concern for textiles
    In a move that is strongly opposed by US textile manufacturers, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has introduced legislation that will make major changes in the textile provisions of two trade agreements and also promote investments in African facilities by US companies.
  • 18-Jul-2005 The Statesman ’Govt must not relent on Rules of Origin’
    The government must not relent under any pressure from ASEAN countries to dilute the Rules of Origin that India has framed before signing the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Singapore, the Indian Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry has said.
  • 12-Jul-2005 Economic Times FTA partners unhappy with Indian ROR rider
    India is under pressure from the Asian countries for relaxation in the rules of origin, commonly referred to as RORs.
  • 10-Feb-2005 Presse Canadienne Le Bloc veut exclure les colonies en Palestine
    Le Bloc québécois a présenté, mercredi, un projet de loi visant à exclure les colonies juives de peuplement en Palestine de l’accord de libre-échange Canada-Israël, comme l’a fait l’Union européenne en 2001.
  • 22-Dec-2004 Rules of origin: US, Thai FTA’s ’most restrictive’
    An Australian Productivity Commission report into trade and assistance reviews found conditions attached to the free trade agreements signed with the United States and Thailand would be more restrictive than similar deals.
  • 27-Aug-2004 EU, Israel resolve trade dispute over settlements EU, Israel resolve trade dispute over settlements
    Goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will no longer be allowed to enter the European Union tariff-free under an agreement initialed on Thursday.
  • 7-Aug-2004 EU deal in ’Made in Israel’ row EU deal in ’Made in Israel’ row
    Agreement has been reached in a wrangle between the European Commission and Israel over goods made in Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza.
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