The original agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) requires WTO members to apply their rules of origin in an impartial, transparent and consistent manner. The agreement also requires that rules of origin do not restrict, distort or disrupt international trade. All countries accept that the harmonization of rules of origin, i.e. the definition of rules of origin, applied by all countries and identical to the objective for which they will be applied, would facilitate international trade. Indeed, the abuse of the rules of origin can in itself make it an instrument of trade policy, rather than simply acting as an instrument of support for a trade policy instrument. However, given the diversity of rules of origin, such harmonization is a complex task. In 1981, the GATT secretariat drew up a note on the rules of origin, and in November 1982, ministers agreed to review the rules of origin used by the GATT contracting parties. The rules of origin were not much more elaborate until the Uruguay Round. In the late 1980s, developments in three important areas were used to place greater emphasis on the problems of rules of origin: 3. The Committee, in collaboration with the technical committee, set up a mechanism to review and propose the results of the harmonization programme, taking into account the objectives and principles set out in Article 9. These may be cases where the rules need to be more operational or updated to reflect new production processes affected by technological change. The WTO agreement provides for the creation of an original committee in which Member States will consult issues relating to the implementation of the agreement. This committee and a technical committee of the rules of origin of the World Customs Organization (WCO) were tasked with developing a permanent and harmonized set of product-specific rules of origin, applicable to all trade in goods – with the exception of preferential trade – between WTO members.
(Preferred trade is trade within free trade zones or other regional trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement or trade preference programs such as the generalized preference system.) Both committees are still working on this project. Once completed, exporters can accurately determine the criteria of origin applied to their product lines when exporting to a WTO member country. 2. During the Section 2 period, members who introduce amendments other than de minimis amendments to their rules of origin or the introduction of new rules of origin that, for the purposes of this article, contain a rule of origin in paragraph 1 and are not communicated to the secretariat, issue a notice to that effect at least 60 days before the new or amended rule comes into force. , in a way that allows interested parties to: become familiar with the intention to amend a rule of origin or introduce a new rule of origin, unless there are exceptional circumstances or a member is likely to occur.