The “Rules of Origin” (RoO) are rules that determine the origin of goods that may enter a country under preferential treatment and certain conditions. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has made provisions that speaks to the determination of the origins of good that may benefit from special treatment. RoO are simply legal provisions used to determine the nationality of a product in the context of international trade.
Article 13 of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area provides thus:
“Goods shall be eligible for preferential treatment under this Protocol, if they are originating in any of the State Parties in accordance with the criteria and conditions set out in Annex 2 on Rules of Origin, and in accordance with the Appendix to be developed on General and Product Specific Rules”
WHY DOES IT MATTER IN THE AfCFTA?
The main purpose of RoO is to ensure that the benefits of preferential tariff treatment are restricted to only those products which have been harvested, grown produced or manufactured in the exporting Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) member.
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES?
The RoO’s objective is to amongst other things;
- deepen market integration at regional and continental levels;
- boost intra-Africa trade
- promote regional and continental value chains; and
- foster economic transformation of the continent through industrialization.
WHERE DOES IT APPLY?
The RoO applies to territories of the State Parties of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
HOW CAN IT BE OBTAINED?
Being recently released, the draft RoO amongst other annexes to the Agreement on the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area can be found HERE.