Tripartite FTA: State of Play on Preferential Rules of Origin
Rules of Origin (RoO) in preferential trading arrangements set out the conditions according to which the origin of a product is determined. Products are often made up of both local and imported inputs and materials and this requires rules that define how much transformation of imported materials must take place before a product can be considered to have the economic origin of the exporting country.
The purpose of preferential RoO is primarily to help avoid trade deflection. This will also be the case in the proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area, that will consist of the 26 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA).
This Trade Brief provides an overview of rules of origin issues in the context of the Tripartite Free Trade Area. The three regional economic communities (RECs) – SADC, COMESA and EAC – each employ their own RoO in their respective trade agreements. While COMESA and EAC RoO are to a large extent the same, they differ significantly from the RoO used by SADC.
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