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Raising ASEAN's Awareness on the Concept of the Declaration of Rules of Origin Under AANZFTA

17 May 2019

May 2019 – A series of capacity building workshops on Declaration of Origin (DoO) was organised for ASEAN Member States (AMS) in February, March and April of 2019, to assist AMS to consider a pilot programme on DoO under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA).

Benefiting more than 650 representatives from trade and customs agencies and private sectors from all ASEAN Member States, these workshops aimed at enhancing ASEAN understanding of the concept and elements of a declaration of origin arrangement. These include the coverage, risk management, documentation and verification mechanism for government officials and private sector representatives as potential beneficiaries of the arrangement.

Article 15 of the AANZFTA Agreement Chapter on Rules of Origin (ROO) states that goods eligible for preferential tariff treatment shall be supported by a Certificate of Origin issued by an Issuing Authority/Body of the exporting Party. The certificate of origin is issued and certified by the authorized body on the basis of an application and declaration by exporters or manufacturers. Declaration of origin, when implemented, will allow self-certified statement made by manufacturers, producers, exporters that the goods being exported meet AANZFTA originating requirements.

Deputy Director-General Khemdeth Sihavong from the Department of Foreign Trade Policy of Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Ms Shwe Sin Oo, Deputy Director of the Department of Trade of Myanmar Ministry of Commerce highlighted in their respective remarks, that the workshops provided valuable opportunity for officials and private sectors to learn from the knowledge and experience of the experts on the concept of declaration of origin that would help officials in discussing possible pilot program on declaration of origin under AANZFTA ROO.

"The workshop was timely organised for Cambodia, to help enhance the capacity of officials that would discuss a pilot program on the declaration of origin under AANZFTA ROO", said Mr Nuon Chanrith, Deputy Director-General of General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia.

These workshops were facilitated by Mr Wayne Baldwin, an experienced expert of rules of origin, who was with Australian Department Customs and Border Protection Service, and the ASEAN Secretariat. The workshops enhanced AMS understanding of the use of the declaration of origin as an alternative to the certificate of origin for exported goods among the AANZFTA Parties. They provided an opportunity for participants to deliberate on key issues related to the declaration of origin such as:

  1. Eligibility for an exporter to be able to issue a declaration of origin;
  2. The required documents for a declaration of origin; and
  3. The declaring formats.
Participants also showed interests in establishing a safeguard mechanism with the customs agencies of the importing country to verify the information and reinforce compliance. Mr Baldwin also assisted with the development of a “Workbook on Declaration of Origin”. This provides a written account of concepts and useful instructions covering possible formats, benefits, potential risk and risk management as well as impacts upon the importation of declaration of origin.

Director Donna Gultom of the ASEAN Negotiation, Directorate General of International Trade Negotiation of the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia noted the similarity of the declaration of origin with self-certification of origin which aims to simplify procedures for origin declaration, hence, facilitate trade among FTA Parties. Similar views were noted by Director Jamilah Haji Hassan, Trade and Industry Section of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, highlighting that declaration of origin, as a method where the manufacturers or exporters determine their own origin criteria for each finished product, will then allow their importers to enjoy benefits offered under the FTA. This arrangement will benefit the exporters as it will be faster than the process of obtaining a certificate of origin, thus it will ease the doing of business and trade facilitative.

These workshops were supported under the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Program (AECSP) and organised by the ASEAN Secretariat in collaboration with the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia, the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Lao PDR, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia, the Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar, the Department of Trade and Industry of Philippines, Thai Customs Department and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam.
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