[09 October 2023: NUKUALOFA, Tonga] – The Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO), in partnership with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the PACER Plus Implementation Unit (PPIU) is excited to announce its upcoming Rules of Origin (RoO) Refresher Workshop. The workshop is scheduled to take place at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel in Tonga from October 16–20, 2023 and has been made possible by the European Union (EU) funded Improving Pacific Islands Customs and Trade (IMPACT) Project.

The workshop is a comprehensive training program that is designed to provide in-depth knowledge and practical insights into the world of RoO within intra-regional and international trade agreements. It will be facilitated by the Center for Customs and Excise Studies (CCES) from Charles Sturt University, Australia.

The training also provides a unique opportunity for customs and trade experts to update and improve their familiarity with RoO, particularly the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA). Therefore, the refresher training will cater to participants/trainers from across the Pacific States of the PACP and PPIU members who have attended previous RoO workshops with OCO and CCES and are looking to enhance their knowledge and application skills. The workshop participants will develop the practical skills needed to apply these regulations successfully in their regular trade and customs operations, reducing compliance issues. Additionally, the training program is customized for various sectors and will ensure that attendees receive pertinent information tailored to their administrations.

As a result of the continuously evolving economic landscape, staying current with trade regulations is vital for businesses to continue to benefit from preferential trade agreements such as the iEPA. Joining the workshop will be representatives from the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Customs Brokers who will actively participate in iEPA and other Free Trade Agreement awareness sessions on days 2 and 3 of the workshop.

The remaining sessions during the week will be targeted for the accredited trainers and participants. These certified instructors and participants will concentrate on comprehending the RoO within the iEPA framework, enabling them to return to their home countries and offer guidance and instruction on the subject to Customs officials, the private sector, and relevant stakeholders at the national and regional levels.

Ms. Nancy T. Oraka, Head of the OCO, emphasized the importance of this refresher training, stating, “In the fast-paced world of international trade, it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest regulations. This workshop is designed to provide professionals with the tools they need to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of iEPA Rules of Origin.”

The IMPACT Project is implemented by UNCTAD and forms part of the EU’s Pacific Regional Integration Support (PRISE) programme that aims to increase the quality and the volume of goods traded intra-regionally between Pacific Island Countries and internationally.


Media Contact:

Darryl Ikbal DarrylI@ocosec.org

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