Enhancing stakeholder capacity in Kiribati
The Hub and Spokes programme provides trade experts to national ministries and regional trade organisations in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states.
Samson Odhiambo is a National Trade Advisor deployed to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives (MCIC), Kiribati under the Hub and Spokes Programme. Here he writes about a workshop he convened to enhance stakeholder capacity on Rules of Origin (ROO).
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Cooperatives (MCIC) in collaboration with the Kiribati Customs Administration and Enforcement Office organised a three-day training on ROO in Free Trade Agreements (FTA). The training took place from 3-5 October 2017 at the Kiribati Institute of Technology, Tarawa, with funding and technical assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat under the Hub and Spokes programme and the Australian Department of Foreign Aid and Trade (DFAT). The overall objective of the training was to enhance the capacity of the key stakeholders on various aspects of ROO in FTAs and their implication on trade development.
In his opening remarks, on behalf of MCIC, Mr Odhiambo emphasised the role of ROO and the need for the private sector, customs and trade officials to have a technical understanding of the key aspects of ROO as defined in various FTAs for effective implementation of such agreements and utilisation of opportunities associated with ROO.
The training covered the multilateral trade aspects of ROO in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement, the WTO TFA (Trade Facilitation Agreement), and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Revised Kyoto Convention. The training further highlighted the various aspects of ROO in FTAs, Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus), South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA) and the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and enabled the participants to understand and compare the various aspects of ROO to identify key limitations associated with these varied agreements.
The participants recommended the need for Kiribati to consider accession to Interim EPA to ensure sustainable market access to the EU, given its possible graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status. The training sessions were delivered by Mr Odhiambo, National Trade Advisor under the Hub and Spokes Programme and Mr Viliame Rova, Customs Technical Advisor.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks from Ms.Roreti Eritai, Officer In Charge of MCIC, who acknowledged the funding and technical assistance from the Hub and Spokes programme towards the facilitation and active participation of the stakeholders during the workshop. 28 stakeholders drawn from the private sector and key government ministries participated in the training workshop.