• Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
  • Agriculture: A priority for sustainable development in the Americas

Rules of origin in the trade of agricultural products

Event Date: 
Geneva, Switzerland
  • Description
  • Program
  • Speakers
  • Live Transmission


The purpose of this activity is to contribute to improving the capacities of IICA’s member states to participate in international trade forums and to promote agricultural trade within the framework of agricultural chains for sustainability, economic development, and food security. 

General objective: To improve the technical knowledge of IICA’s member states in topics such as rules of origin and to understand the impact that some non-tariff measures have on agricultural trade. 

Specific objectives:

  • To understand the provisions relating to the rules of origin as a non-tariff measure in the multilateral trade system and its relation to the trade of agricultural goods.
  • To identify some of the impacts that non-tariff measures and rules of origin have on developing countries.
  • To share experiences about the possible challenges for countries in the Americas in the negotiation and application of the rules of origin in the trade of agricultural products.

Participating institutions:

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), World Trade Organization (WTO) Reference Center at IICA.

The World Trade Organization (WTO), the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC), the Agriculture and Commodities Division (ACD) and the Rules of Origin Division.

The International Trade Center (ITC).



The rules of origin are non-tariff measures that are utilized for determining the origin of a product. The rules may be non-preferential (such as those established by countries within the WTO), that are used for purposes such as labeling, anti-dumping, quotas, and the generation of statistics. They may also be preferential, such as those that are negotiated in the agreements in a free trade zone, which include tariff concessions.

Within this context, it must be highlighted that every IICA member government is also a member of WTO. At the moment, every country is a full member with the exception of Bahamas, which is currently an observer member and is in negotiations to become a full member.

Likewise, the great majority of American countries have signed and are negotiating a number of free trade agreements, in which non-tariff measures and preferential rules of origin become more complex. This presents a number of benefits, but it also presents a variety of challenges for the business sector that practices trade and enacts the rules that have been negotiated by governments at the WTO and regional levels.

Due to the proliferation of a range of preferential trade agreements and their tendency to appear in value chains, the government and business representatives responsible for correctly complying with the rules of origin are faced with the challenge of applying the rules, as well as managing the diverse certifications of origin and verification systems.

The importance of understanding the evolution of the non-preferential and preferential rules of origin lies in its correct application, as well as in the prevention of commercial losses for importers and exporters.



The forum will consist of four parts:

  1. Presentation of the WTO rules of origin and their relation to agriculture. An internet linkup with officials of the Agriculture Division and Rules of Origin Division of the WTO, via the  ITTC in Geneva, will be held.
  2. Presentation of some of the impacts of non-tariff measures, including the rules of origin, for the business sector in developing countries. Internet linkup with ITC specialists.

3.  Comments and questions.

4.  Conclusions y closing.

The forums will be broadcasted via WebEx in both Spanish and English to the 34 IICA member states.



8:20 - 8:30 a.m.Inauguration of the technical forum by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Salvador Fernández. Director of Technical Cooperation (IICA)
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.Rules of origin in the multilateral system of the WTO and their relation to the agricultural trade. Darlan Martí, Secretary of the Committee on Rules of Origin (WTO) and Majda Petschen Adviser in the Agriculture and Commodities Division (WTO)
9:00 - 9:30 a.m. Some of the impacts of non-tariff measures and the rules of origin in the business sector of developing countries. Cristian Ugarte Market Analyst at the Trade and Market Intelligence section (ITC)
9:30 - 10:00 a.m.Questions and comments. Conclusions y closing.Joaquín Arias Policies and Institutional Framework Coordinator, Value Chains Area (IICA)



Majda Petschen comenzó a laborar en la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) en julio de 1994. Como analista de mercado para los sectores de carne y lácteos, asistió a la División de Agricultura y Productos Básicos en la realización de estudios de mercado y en la administración de anteriores acuerdos para sectores específicos. Entre 1996 y 2013, formó parte del Comité de Medidas Sanitarias y Fitosanitarias (MSF) y del Comité de Agricultura, en los cuales fungió como secretaria en las áreas de implementación y negociación. Como consejera de la División de Agricultura y Productos Básicos de la OMC, actualmente supervisa el desarrollo de políticas referentes al comercio de productos básicos, desempeña funciones de divulgación con organizaciones internacionales y ofrece asistencia a distintos paneles en la resolución de conflictos relacionados con la agricultura.  


Darlan F. MARTÍ

Darlan F. MARTÍ has worked in the Market Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 2009. Currently, he serves as the Secretary of the Committee of the WTO on Rules of Origin. In this capacity, he assists WTO members in a number of tasks concerning issues related to preferential and non-preferential rules of origin. Darlan is a citizen of Brazil and has studied law in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 


Cristian UGARTE

Mr. Cristian Ugarte is national Bolivian and works as a Market Analyst at the Trade and Market Intelligence section (TMI) of ITC, since April 2015. His duties are related to capacity building projects, the ITC Programme on Non-Tariff Measures, and other studies dealing with export competitiveness of developing countries.

Among his previous experiences, he was in charge of conducting research-oriented capacity building projects with the UNCTAD Virtual Institute and delivering in-person and on-distance trainings and workshops to university members of this network.

Mr. Ugarte holds a PhD from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Before joining ITC, he worked as an Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD, a trade economist at Trade and Agriculture Directorate of the OECD, and a doctoral researcher at the University of Lausanne. He was a consultant for several projects related to trade, competitiveness, value chains and development for international institutions such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Labour Organization, and other institutions.



Úrsula Hermelink has a degree in International Relations and a Master’s in International Economics and Finance. She is the current Manager of the ITC Program on Non-tariff Measures, a position she has held since 2014. She previously served as a Market Analyst at the ITC, and as an Assistant Program Officer for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Live Transmission


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