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Rules of origin: Can the noodle bowl of trade agreements be untangled?

Staff research note

This research note by Wayne Crook and Jenny Gordon was released on 3 May 2017.

It seeks to answer the following questions:

  • How much are Rules of Origin (RoO) being used for trade creation or protectionist purposes (section 1)?
  • Are RoO getting in the way of the expansion of Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) working for overall trade liberalisation (section 2)?
  • Does the cost of compliance undermine the value of PTAs for importers and exporters (section 3)?

The final section discusses some options for reform to better achieve the intent of PTAs as stepping stones to a more liberalised multilateral trading system (section 4).

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