The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization that deals with the rules of trade between nations. The focus is on the WTO agreements, which have been negotiated and signed by the mass of the world`s trading nations and ratified by their parliaments. Some countries impose higher tariffs on countries that are not part of the WTO. In rare cases, WTO GATT Members/Parties have invoked the “non-application clause” of the WTO/GATT agreements and have decided not to extend the most-favoured-nation clause to certain other countries. As a joint initiative with the WCO and the WTO, the International Trade Centre is introducing the Rules of Origin Facilitator, which provides free and user-friendly access to the ITC database on rules of origin and origin documentation in hundreds of trade agreements. The facilitator is also combined with the huge customs databases and trade agreements that have been built and continuously maintained by the ITC Market Access Card since 2006, resulting in a unique market information solution that enables businesses, especially from developing countries, to benefit from trade agreements around the world. The facilitator currently contains data on more than 230 free trade agreements applied by more than 190 countries as well as non-preferential agreements of the EU, the United States and Switzerland. This database will be gradually expanded, with the ultimate goal of covering more than 400 free trade agreements and preferential regimes currently active worldwide. NAFTA was developed primarily to help businesses and workers in North America, it was clear that goods manufactured elsewhere could not be allowed to circumvent tariffs by simply being reloaded in one NAFTA country on the way to another. In the age of global manufacturing, finished products are often assembled from components from many different countries. The precise legal standards – the specific rules of origin – vary considerably from country to country, but most use an ad valorem criterion based on the percentage of value added and calculated in a prescribed manner. In principle, free trade agreements and their rules of origin should be notified to the WTO as an obligation on the part of Members.
 However, rules of origin in free trade agreements and autonomous trade agreements (e.g. B GSP schemes) are not subject to any essential WTO requirements. Indeed, the Agreement on Rules of Origin does not regulate how rules of origin are to be formulated and implemented in a free trade agreement or GSP. There is only a brief joint declaration on preferential rules of origin, which sets out certain standards and recommendations for the formulation of preferential rules of origin.  The fact that preferential rules of origin do not fall within the scope of the WTO adds even more divergence to the “spaghetti bowl” of rules of origin: each free trade agreement and each autonomous trade regime can formulate its own rules of origin. Due to the rapid growth of regionalism, hundreds of rules of origin are currently applied in hundreds of free trade agreements. According to the WTO, as of 4 January 2019, 291 RTAs will be in force – only those notified to the WTO Secretariat will apply.  According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), more than 440 free trade agreements are in force at the end of March 2019.  In the recent past, as several countries intensified their efforts to conclude foreign trade agreements (FTAs) around the world, there was growing concern about the so-called “spaghetti bowl phenomenon,” in which different rules of origin and different tariff plans depending on origin were used as noodles in a bowl around the world. For textiles, the USCMA Uniform Regulations provide additional guidance for the processing of various textile and apparel products.
They establish a de minimis rule for non-originating materials, according to which a good is considered to originate in the USMCA territory if the total weight (not the value) of the non-originating materials is equal to or less than 10% of the total weight of the good and if the foreign elastometry content does not exceed 7% of the total weight. The USMCA rules on textiles and clothing are among the most complex. In addition, the USMCA closes the Kissell Amendment Buy American loophole and ensures that a significant amount that the Department of Homeland Security spends annually on clothing and textiles for the Transportation Security Administration will benefit domestically made products. Kim Glas, President of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), praised the USMCA, saying, “Maintaining a $20 billion trilateral trade between apparel and textiles between the United States, Mexico and Canada is absolutely essential at this time. The USMCA, which makes several significant improvements over the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), will go a long way in boosting textile industry exports, as well as investment and capacity in the United States. We need to maintain and expand a supply chain in the Western Hemisphere to directly address national emergencies in the future. The criterion of `substantial transformation` defines `origin as the country of origin in which the last substantial production or transformation which was considered sufficient to confer on a product its essential character was carried out`.  In other words, as soon as a product consists of inputs from more than one country, it acquires the originating status of the country where the essential works that give it essential character are located. It is possible that the work carried out in different countries also gives the product essential characteristics; In this case, the last one will be credited. There are several methods of application for determining whether the criterion of “substantial transformation” is met, including rules based on (i) change in tariff classification, (ii) percentage of value, or (iii) list of specific manufacturing or processing operations.
All these interchangeable methods have some positive and negative aspects and can be applied separately or in combination. During the Uruguay Round, participating countries recognized the need to ensure transparency of rules and practices relating to rules of origin in order to avoid unnecessary obstacles to the movement of international trade. In his keynote address to the WCO Council in June 2011, Pascal Lamy, then Director-General of the WTO, stressed that preferential rules of origin were an area of crucial importance. He noted that as long as the origin of a good has a major impact on the duties to be collected, the door is open to fraud. He added that the solution could be to “kill the rules of origin.” Focusing on the WTO`s “Made in the World” initiative, he noted that international trade flows are currently calculated by attributing the full trade value of a product to the last country of origin. This needs to change as the company increasingly localizes the different phases of its activities in order to optimize its value chain. The WTO Agreement on Rules of Origin establishes the work programme for the harmonization of non-preferential rules of origin within three years of the commencement of the regime, i.e. until 20 July 1998. Due to the complexity of many issues raised during the work, the timetable provided for in the agreement has been extended several times. Negotiations are still ongoing, but without an official deadline or timetable. Browse documents Rules of origin online Documents use the code G/RO/* (where * gets additional values) These links open a new window: Leave a moment until the results are displayed. The USMCA contains important safeguards and updated rules of origin.
To qualify for duty-free treatment under the USMCA, goods imported into the United States must comply with the rules of origin set out in Chapter 4 of the USMCA. Imported goods originating in Canada or Mexico that otherwise meet the requirements of the USMCA are considered extended preferential treatment […].