Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific
Responsible for Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu as well as the three Overseas Countries and Territories in the Pacific.

Implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Pacific States

01/10/2019 - 07:38
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At the request of the Pacific States, the European Union organised a 2-day capacity building workshop on Rules of Origin, on 30 September and 1 October 2019, in Suva, Fiji. Officials from the Customs' Directorate-General (DG TAXUD) of the Commission shared experience with over 50 participants – customs and trade officials, and the private sector representatives – from the Pacific States (Fiji, PNG, Samoa Solomon Islands and Tonga).

Rules of Origin are key to benefit from the preferential tariff treatment offered by the EPA. Products exported from the Pacific States to the EU must fulfil the originating requirements set out in Protocol II on rules of origin in order to benefit from such treatment under the Agreement.

The main objective of the 2-day workshop was to reinforce the capacity of customs authorities in Pacific States and of the private sector, in order to better understand the Rules of Origin and the procedures applicable to the EU-Pacific EPA. The workshop focused on how to determine the originating status of products exported to the EU claiming preferential tariff treatment under the EPA, with a particular focus on fish products; the procedures for issuing a valid proof of origin; and the role and responsibilities of the customs authorities on certifying the originating status and carrying out verifications.

The workshop has strengthened the necessary capacity for customs authorities to ensure a correct implementation of the rules and procedures set out in Protocol II on rules of origin, both for Pacific States' exports to as well as their imports from the EU. The workshop also provided the necessary information to the representatives of the private sector, enabling them to better understand the requirements of the Agreement in order to determine originating status of the products exported to the EU; the procedures to obtain valid proofs of origin; their obligations concerning recordkeeping of documents and reply to verification requests; and their responsibilities in case of denial of preferences.

Overall, the capacity building was designed to support the Pacific States to optimize the use of preferences provided for by the EPA. The event was a prelude to, and enabled the Pacific States' customs and trade official to participate actively in the 1st meeting of the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Rules of Origin under the EPA (2-3 October).

Other info

For other EPA events taking place this week, please see conference on Doing Business with the EU – how the civil society and the private sector can benefit from the EPA (2 October); and the 7th meeting of EU-Pacific Trade Committee under the EPA (3-4 October).