31 October 2023

Refresher Training on Rules of Origin Regional Workshop: Strengthening Expertise for Trade Excellence

NUKUALOFA, Tonga –The Rules of Origin Workshop continues to play a crucial role in strengthening customs and trade related knowledge and information among customs experts.

A comprehensive four-day training on Pacific trade agreements, such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA), Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) with the European Union (EU), and the United Kingdom Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), was completed by 25 customs officials from 13 Pacific Island Countries at the Rules of Origin Workshop in Nukualofa, Tonga.

Importantly, participants learned practical skills to apply these regulations successfully in their regular trade and customs operations, reducing compliance issues. The workshop was organized by Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) in partnership with the EU funded Improving Pacific Islands Customs and Trade (IMPACT) Project implemented by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and with the PACER Plus Implementation Unit (PPIU). The Center for Customs and Excise Studies (CCES) from Charles Sturt University, Australia facilitated the workshop from 16-20 October 2023.

Speaking during a session at the workshop, the Trade Correspondent/Programme Manager of the European Union for the Pacific, Mr. Massimo DIOMEDI CAMASSEI said, “The European Union was proud to support initiatives such as the Rules of Origin workshop because it plays a pivotal role in promoting economic development, trade facilitation and regional cooperation in the pacific. The European Union is committed to fostering sustainable growth in the region and was delighted to witness the enthusiasm of more Pacific countries expressing interest in joining iEPA.”

Head of the Oceania Customs Organisation, Ms. Nancy T. Oraka stated, “The Refresher Training Workshop on Rules of Origin has been a transformative experience for our participants. In an ever-evolving global trade landscape, this workshop equipped them with the knowledge and skills to navigate complexities confidently.”

The Operations and Secretariat Manager at the PACER Plus Implementation Unit, Ms. Laisiana Tugaga, said, “The workshop represents a critical step forward in our mission to enhance regional trade and economic development through the implementation of the Rules of origin. The engagement of all the participants highlights their commitment and we are excited about the opportunities for the Pacific region.”

While expressing gratitude toward the workshop, a participant from the Republic of Palau, Ms. Joline Spesungel stated, “This workshop has provided us with valuable insights into the practical aspects of the iEPA Rules of Origin, and see this as a crucial tool for boosting our trade relations with our neighboring nations.”

Moreover, Mr. Philip Ruben, representing Papua New Guinea at the workshop stated, “As a representative from PNG, I am thrilled to have been part of this workshop. The iEPA Rules of Origin will play a pivotal role in facilitating trade and economic growth in our region. The discussions held here have equipped us with the necessary tools to implement these rules effectively, and we are committed to making the most of this opportunity.”

The OCO, through the EU funded IMPACT Project implemented by UNCTAD, PPIU and CCES extend their sincere gratitude to all participants, speakers, and partners for their unwavering support in making this workshop a resounding success.

Media Contact:
Darryl Ikbal

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