Participants at the Rules of Origin Workshop, 24 & 25 June at FRCS Headquarters, Suva, Fiji

The OCO co-facilitated with the national ROO Trainer, Mr. Noa Buredua, a two-day Rules of Origin Training for the Fiji Revenue & Customs Services (FRCS) held in Suva, Fiji on 24-25 June, 2020. About 29 Customs Officers participated in the Workshop, 14 of whom virtually from Lautoka and Labasa. The objective of the workshop was help the participants understand the major concepts on Rules of Origin and the application of origin procedures under the different Free Trade Agreements.

FRCS Director Revenue Management, Mr. Fazrul Rahman, in his opening remarks spoke of the important role that Customs play with respect to the application of trade policy and trade agreements and Fiji’s economic development. He encouraged the participants to understand trade agreements and their respective rules not only to facilitate trade but also to protect the interest of Fiji’s industry and traders.

During the workshop, the participants learned about the preferential and non-preferential Rules of Origin, key concepts of origin determination and a comparative of the Rules of Origin under the different Free Trade Agreements that Fiji is a party to, namely the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement, Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. The Workshop also discussed some of the origin irregularities at the administration level, highlighting the importance of their role in verifying the originating status of goods. The participants undertook practical exercises on different Rules of Origin deepening their knowledge on their application.

One of the important issues discussed during the workshop was that many companies, particularly the small and medium enterprises, are not aware of trade agreement and related trade preferences and hence that Customs need to provide more private sector training and awareness on these trade agreements. The training was well-received by the participants and provided a good opportunity to discuss ideas on how to support the private sector to utilize opportunities arising from the various free trade agreements.

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