On 1 January 2011, a new regulation on EC Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) rules of origin came into force, ending a reform process that was initiated by the Commission Green Paper of 2003 on the future of rules of origin in preferential trade arrangements. The new EC GSP rules of origin herald a new era and set a benchmark for other preference-giving countries: they are far more liberal than the previous ones with the notable exception of fishery products and processed agricultural food. The Regulation also introduces as of 2017 a new administration of rules of origin whereby origin declarations are made upon registered exporters designation of the certifying authorities.
The aim of this article is twofold. The first is to analyse the EC reform to assess the major changes from previous rules of origin; the second aim is to briefly analyse the foundation, evidence, and studies that have underpinned such reform. It discusses the methodology used by the EC Commission and developed by the author in previous UNCTAD papers in setting a given rule of origin. The article concludes with a comparative table of old and new product-specific rules of origin outlining the major changes in key industrial sectors such as agri-food products, clothing, machineries, and electronics.Journal of World Trade