Rules of origin, a criteria needed to determine the national source of a product and decide the applicable duties, are important to international trade because they impact on sourcing and investment strategies by firms, government has said.
Malawi’s Ministry of Industry and Trade Principal Secretary Cliff Chiunda, speaking during the 9th meeting on rules of origin regime for the Tripartite FTA in Lilongwe on Monday, said it is important that rules result from a transparent and predictable process so that firms can account for them when planning their strategies.
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) aims at combining Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and East African Community (EAC)—three trade blocs that span the Eastern and Southern Africa.
Chiunda said the meeting, which was aimed at developing clear and predictable rules of origin, facilitate the flow of international trade and provide transparency of laws, regulations and practices regarding rules of origin.
“It is in view of this fact that we negotiate to make rules of origin as a tool for deeper regional integration by coming up with a rules of origin regime, which facilitates more regional trade than impedes the same,” he said.
Chiunda said the increasing complexity of rules of origin is a source of concern for the private sector and, therefore, the application of rules of origin should not create new administrative burdens neither for international trade operators nor for customs administration.