Background of the Handbook
This Manual is designed to assist the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Member countries in the uniform, transparent and efficient operation of the Rules of Origin (ROO) for the MSG Trade Agreement (MSGTA) by providing both the public and private sectors with a user friendly guide to the practical application of the ROO
This Manual is based on the official MSGTA ROO texts (Article 13 (1) (a) and Annex III, and the Laws and Regulations that currently apply to parties to the MSG. It is not a substitute for those official texts and must therefore be used in conjunction with them.
The MSGTA establishes a free trade agreement among the MSG countries whose overall objectives are to:
- promote and facilitate the free flow of identified goods;
- ensure as far as possible that trade between the Parties takes place under conditions of fair competition; and
contribute to the harmonious development and expansion of world trade and to the progressive removal of barriers thereto
The ROO play the central role in facilitating the effectiveness of any free trade agreement. Goods will be accepted as eligible for MSGTA preferential tariff treatment if they originate in Parties to the MSGTA. The ROO as set out in Article 13 and Annex III of the MSGTA provide details and criteria for which goods can qualify as „originating‟.
The Parties will utilize the existing MSG Institutional framework for the purposes of overseeing the implementation of the MSGTA and the associated ROO.
The WTO Rules of Origin Agreement (Annex II) contains a „Common Declaration‟ which relates to preferential ROO. It stipulates that the general principles and requirements applied to non-preferential ROO as contained in the Agreement should also apply to the administration of preferential ROO. Although the Parties to the MSGTA consist of WTO members and non-members, they should all strive to achieve the following principles and requirements with respect to the MSGTA‟s ROO:
- be objective, understandable and predictable;
- not be used as a barrier to pursue trade objectives directly or indirectly;
- be administrable in a consistent, uniform, impartial and reasonable manner; and
- be coherent and based on a positive...