Value chains and industrialisation: what is the status of the AfCFTA RoO?
Rules of Origin (RoO) are the legal provisions and related criteria that are used to establish the nationality of traded goods. RoO that are used in non-preferential trade serve various purposes, such as for recording trade statistics, to enforce country of origin labelling, trade remedy investigations and for other purposes, and national origin criteria are used to allocate an origin to a product. For preferential trade, RoO criteria are agreed by the contracting parties (in the case of trade agreements) and used to determine the nationality of a product based on its economic origin, that is, the place where any non-originating materials and intermediate goods are substantially transformed to obtain the economic passport of a preferential trade partner.
This makes RoO an essential component of the AfCFTA goods protocol, and of any other preferential trade arrangement. The AfCFTA RoO provisions have been a long time in the making but remain a partly unresolved matter given that the RoO in key sectors have not yet been fully agreed.