Rules of origin are the rules to attribute a country of origin to a product in order to determine it “economic nationality”. The need to establish rules of origin stems from the fact that the implementation of trade policy measures, such as tariffs, quotas, trade remedies, in various cases, depends on the country of origin of the product at hand.
Rules of origin are used:
- to implement measures and instruments of commercial policy such as anti-dumping duties and safeguard measures
- to determine whether imported products shall receive most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment or preferential treatment
- for the purpose of trade statistics
- for the application of labelling and marking requirements
- for government procurement.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has no specific rules governing the determination of the country of origin of goods in international commerce. Each contracting party was free to determine its own origin rules, and could even maintain several different rules of origin depending on the purpose of the particular regulation.