Sharpening Zimbabwean policymakers’ knowledge of rules of origin

20 October 2014
ITC News

(Harare) Policymakers in Zimbabwe are set to increase their understanding of rules of origin to help the country’s exporters boost their exports, through training led by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

ITC and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce will on 20-21 October jointly organize a workshop on rules of origin and the interim-Economic Partnership Agreement (i-EPA) in Harare. Rules of origin are highly technical, but exporters must understand them to take advantage of duty-free and quota-free access to the European Union market. They are also crucial for government officials to understand, when administering rules of origin or negotiating the rules-of-origin chapter of a free-trade agreement.

To take advantage of preferential access to European Union markets under the i-EPA, Zimbabwean exporters need to show that their products comply with the i-EPA’s rules of origin. Exporters, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, can find this to be a complex task since they may not have necessary resources to comply.

Rules of origin

The workshop is designed to build up policymakers’ knowledge of rules of origin – particularly those under Zimbabwe’s i-EPA with the European Union – so that they can better understand the principles and their application, and as such become better equipped to provide advice to Zimbabwean exporters. The training will cover the rationale, principles, benchmarks and types of rules of origin, as well as their positive effect on investment.

The material will be tailored to Zimbabwean exports and will feature hypothetical case studies about priority export industries, such as metals, agriculture, clothing and textiles, and manufacturing.

The workshop is one of the activities funded by the European Union’s Support to Trade and Private Sector Development Programme for Zimbabwe (€ 3 million), which is being implemented by ITC. The programme aims to enhance the role of the private sector and trade support institutions, and strengthen the capacity of all actors involved in the implementation of the i-EPA between Zimbabwe and the European Union.