Your Expert Consultant on Rules of Origin
The World Customs Organization created the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, commonly known as the “Harmonized System,” or HS, which creates internationally recognized numerical codes for all goods.
The Harmonized System contains 21 sections, 96 chapters, and 5,000 subheadings, and has essentially become the language for most international trade purposes such as rates of duty, trade statistics, and expressing both preferential and non-preferential rules of origin. As elegant as having a uniform coding system is, the sheer size and complexy of the HS makes it easy for small enterprises to run afoul of its structure and inadvertently misclassify the finished goods they manufactured to export and the imported inputs they used to produce these exports. Misclassification under the HS itself creates origin liabilities because without the proper HS you are unlikely to ever achieve any accurate origin determinations.
All preferential trade, and maybe especially in the case of NAFTA, draws special attention from customs officials, since favorable duty treatment can naturally lead to abuses. Therefore, rules of origin are a particular point of enforcement for officials monitoring this trade. While they can been a boon to cross-border commerce between trading partners such as the US and Canada, origin creates a layer of reporting complexity that creates obligations for an importer or manufacturer up to five years after goods are shipped.
The way NAFTA has defined rules of origin, and the way courts have interpreted the treaty in more than 100 court cases in the US alone, make it wise for you to give us a seat at the table when you are making trade and sourcing plans.
Discovering after the fact that duties or other trade limitations apply to products you’ve already sold based on faulty assumptions about rules of origin is a shocking, but avoidable, surprise. Rules of origin in international trade is what we do, on a large or small scale, and the Harmonized System and its rules of origin are second nature to us, so let us be your partner in moving your goods to market.
Major corporations and enterprises rely on Trade Facilitation Services for advice and consulting on issues of international trade and rules of origin. The Inter-American Development Bank, the German development agency GIZ, the Canadian International Development Agency, and numerous corporations have all called on the consulting of our CEO, Brian Staples. For nonprofits, he is able to design and execute capacity building programs, and promote economic growth through international trade. For multinationals, he can guide the sourcing of major assemblies to optimize the tax treatment of the final product. As the founding Director of the Origin Institute, Brian Staples is a recognized authority on rules or origin.
The subjectivity of rules of origin as they relate to tariff classifications, the concept of “Last Substantial Transformation,” the “Value Added” rule, and the “Special Processing” rule, calls for a respected authority who can keep you from making unsafe assumptions about how your goods will be treated by customs authorities in your target market. Customs officials can be quick to apply narrow definitions when an overseas corporations and multinationals are concerned. Here again, Brian Staples can provide you invaluable advice and consulting, which can save your company significant costs and negative publicity.
Whether you are charged with crafting trade policy, or you are looking to influence legislation or regulation, you can rely on the technical experience of Trade Facilitation Services to support your efforts to create meaningful change. We understand the complexities, implications, and unintended consequences of rules of origin. We can work as problem solvers putting development projects together, or as consultants on capacity building programs internationally.
Our greatest assistance in this arena is bringing to bear the professional reputation of our CEO, Brian Staples, whose work on both preferential and non-preferential rules of origin issues is well known. To experts in this field, Brian Staples requires no introduction; he has decades of experience in public policy and internetaional trade. His history of nonpartisan advocacy of clear trade rules, and his reputation as one of Canada & the US's foremost technocrats on rules of origin issues, have earned him respect from policy makers on both sides of the aisle, and on both sides of the border. Therefore, his advocacy for common sense rules of origin legislation and regulation carries significant weight.