Making EU Trade Agreements Work: The Role of Rules of Origin

15 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2003

See all articles by Paul Brenton

Paul Brenton

World Bank

Miriam Manchin

University College London; Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano

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A key element of the EU's free trade and preferential trade agreements is the extent to which they deliver improved market access and so contribute to the EU's foreign policy objectives towards developing countries and neighbouring countries in Europe, including the countries of the Balkans. Previous preferential trade schemes have been ineffective in delivering improved access to the EU market since only a small proportion of the available preferences have actually been utilised. The main reason for this is probably the very restrictive rules of origin that the EU imposes, coupled with the costs of proving consistency with these rules. If the EU wants the 'Everything but Arms' agreement and free trade agreements with countries in the Balkans to generate substantial improvements in access to the EU market for products from these countries then it will have to reconsider the current rules of origin and implement less restrictive rules backed up by a careful safeguards policy.

Suggested Citation

Brenton, Paul and Manchin, Miriam, Making EU Trade Agreements Work: The Role of Rules of Origin. The World Economy, Vol. 26, pp. 755-769, May 2003. Available at SSRN:

Paul Brenton (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
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Miriam Manchin

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano ( email )

Via Conservatorio 7
Milan, 20122

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