Brussels, 10 October 2016/ ACP: The ACP Secretariat and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) have teamed up to assist the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of the ACP Group to realise the benefits of the package of measures agreed to by the 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference that was held in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2015.

The World Customs Organisation, represented by technical expert Mr. Toshiko Yamate, made the offer to assist the ACP LDCs on rules of origin at a meeting of the ACP Subcommittee on Trade and Commodities that was held on 27 September 2016. The cooperation is a follow-up to a commitment for greater cooperation between the two organisations made by H.E Dr. Patrick Gomes, the ACP Secretary General and H.E Mr Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the WCO on the occasion of the meeting of the ACP Ministers responsible for Trade Matters in June 2015.

Focusing on rules of origin, the two organisations agreed to work together to ensure that LDCs are able to take advantage of the offers contained in the ‘Nairobi Package’. WCO will provide technical assistance for ACP WCO Members, conduct studies and prepare technical guidelines as well as develop guidance material to ensure maximum benefit of the preferential market access for LDCs. In addition, ACP States will participate at the WCO Origin Conference to be held at a venue to be determined in Africa in 2017.

At the WTO level, the Committee on rules of origin has discussed methodologies for the calculation of utilisation rates and how to develop a template for notification of preferential rules of origin. Countries granting preferences were invited to notify the measures they are taking to implement the decision, with developed country members required to do so by the end of this year. For ACP LDCs, this means that they will be fully aware of the trade advantages that exist for them in developed country markets.

Least-developed countries (LDCs) are the poorest countries in the world. Among the 48 LDCs as designated by the United Nations, 39 of them belong to the ACP Group. Comprising about 12 per cent of the world’s population, LDCs account for less than 2 per cent of world GDP and only about 1 per cent of global trade in goods. Their participation in global trade in services is even less.

The ACP Group recognizses that LDCs need special treatment and assistance to achieve their trade and development objectives. The Nairobi package which provides LDCs with some flexibility in implementing WTO rules will contribute to increasing LDCs’ trade opportunities.

(Photo: Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation H.E. Mr. Kunio Mikuriya and Secretary General of the ACP Group of States H.E Dr. Patrick Gomes/ Photo by

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