Trade Facilitation, Rules of Origin and Customs Valuation

Our team advises government, business and NGO clients on all matters concerning Trade Facilitation and related topic areas. We offer comprehensive and targeted high-quality advisory services in the context of the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, on the design and implementation of national Trade Facilitation strategies and policies, and on Trade Facilitation in the context of regional integration; including economic interest and impact analysis. We offer specialized expertise on Rules of Origin and the cumulation of origin under FTAs and other preferential trade arrangements, as well as specialized advice on Customs Valuation, in particular methods and practices under the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement.

Our Practice

Our team’s experience and expertise covers the entire field of Trade Facilitation as reflected in the emerging WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, including the actual negotiations on that Agreement at the WTO. Members of our team have inter aliaadvised the ACP Group, the African Group and the LDC Group directly in and on the WTO Trade Facilitation negotiations and authored TF-related studies, for example for UNCTAD (“Reflection on a Future Trade Facilitation Agreement”).

We have advised clients on multiple Trade Facilitation-related matters, such as the design and negotiation of a transit, movement and access agreement between two governments in an adversarial setting, and provided technical and project management knowledge to help public managers implement TF reforms. We have drafted TF-related laws and regulations, from individual provisions to entire trade regulation acts, including legislation written specifically in the context of WTO accessions.  We have designed, conducted and spoken at numerous specialized trainings and workshops on TF-related matters.  

Our team advises private and government clients on Rules of Origin, including the Cumulation of Origin. For example, we have provided advice on asymmetric rules of origin in EPAs, and published a paper on that issue. We have also conducted a series of specialized training workshops for Palestinian industries on the use of RoO and cumulation under the EuroMed Palermo Protocol, and designed a “Guidebook on the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Cumulation of Origin”for the Palestinian Federation of Industries. We have provided detailed advice to private and government clients on the interpretation and operation of the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement.

Our Team

Trade Facilitation and related issues are a core competency of our team, and several members of our core team are pronounced TF and/or Rules of Origin specialists.

  • Hadil Hijazi, MA, MSc, a trade policy advisor and Director of WTI Advisors, advised the African Group and the LDC Group on the DDA Negotiations on Trade Facilitation and facilitated/spoke at various related workshops. She worked extensively on rules of origin in EuroMed Agreements and EPAs and designed/gave presentations at multiple specialized workshops. She authored the UNCTAD study “Reflection on a Future Trade Facilitation Agreement” and (co-)authored inter alia a study on asymmetric rules of origin in EPAs and a “Guidebook on the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Cumulation of Origin.”
  • Francoise Guei, LLM, a trade policy advisor and Associate of WTI Advisors with long-standing experience with the LDC Group and in West Africa, conducted a wide-ranging needs assessment for the Francophone UEMOA countries in West Africa, measuring the compliance of regional legal instruments on trade facilitation with draft text emerging from the WTO negotiations.
  • Birgit Viohl, MA, a Trade Facilitation expert, worked with UNCTAD’s TF Section before establishing herself as an independent consultant. She has wide experience with TF instruments and their implementation in various administrative settings. She has advised developing countries on the WTO negotiations on Trade Facilitation and conducted several WTO TF needs assessments. She focuses inter alia on building the capability of the clients to deliver successful TF reforms, including by setting up government - traders dialogues.
  • Hannes Schloemann, LL.M., a trade lawyer and Director of WTI Advisors, has a long-standing practice of advising clients on multiple TF-related matters, including in the context of WTO accession. He has, for example, drafted a “Trade Development Act”, with import & export regulations, for the Kingdom of Bhutan; worked extensively on rules of origin in EuroMed Agreements and EPAs; (co-)authored a “Guidebook on the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Cumulation of Origin” for the PFI; and advised a major NGO on valuation issues under the CVA.
  • Dr. Christian Pitschas, LL.M., a trade lawyer with MSBH Rechtsanwälte and co-founder of WTI Advisors, has broad experience on customs issues in relation to the EU Customs Union (classification, valuation, rules of origin) and valuation under the WTO CVA. Previous assignments include providing advice to the ACP Group on TF negotiations in the Doha-Round (2006 – 2010) and the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy on Rules of Origin and cumulation in the EuroMed context.
  • Tom Hughman is an international trade & customs reform expert and managing consultant of RCS Ltd.  After many years with the UK Customs Service he moved into consulting in 1997, and has since worked with NGOs and businesses in over 25 countries. With a broad understanding of TF best practice and standards, plus a wide range of technical expertise (including Risk Management, Customs Valuation/Classification & Rules of Origin), he has provided clients with topic-specific advice and TA programs, developed options papers to support gov’t strategies, implemented capacity building initiatives, and provided an advisory/liaison role to trade apex bodies.