Doha, Qatar: The Qatar Chamber hosted yesterday a regional workshop titled ‘Requirements for the Application of Electronic Certificate of Origin (e-CO) in the Framework of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA)’.

The seminar was organised by the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States within the framework of cooperation with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) through the implementation of the second phase of the Aid for Trade Initiative for the Arab States (AFTIAS 2.0).

More than 32 participants from 11 Arab countries that are members of the GAFTA took part in the event.

The three-day workshop aimed to identify the mechanisms for exchanging e-COs among Arab states. It also addressed challenges faced by countries in the application of e-COs and explored successful Arab experiences in this regard. Additionally, it discussed recommendations for increasing the number of Arab countries issuing e-COs.

In the inaugural session, Hussein Yousef Al Abdulghani, Director of the Administrative and Financial Affairs Department at the Chamber, said that issuance of e-certificate of origin is an important factor in developing the intra-Arab trade.

Al Abdulghani stressed that the workshop supports the Arab economic integration, expressing his hope it ends with recommendations that increase the number of countries issuing the e-COs in the framework of the GAFTA.

For her part, Ms. Lamia Abdelwahed, Rules of Origin Officer at the Arab Economic Integration Department of the Arab League, thanked the Chamber for hosting the workshop.

She highlighted the Arab League General Secretariat’s keenness on keeping up with the global commercial developments, which contribute to the advancement of the Arab integration in the framework of the GAFTA.

She also assured the significance of e-CO in promoting and streamlining the inter-Arab trade. She pointed out that one of the most prominent achievements of the past years in the rules of origin sector is the acceptance of e-CO by the Arab countries.

“There are six countries currently issuing the certificate of origin electronically: Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and Morocco,” she added.

Abdulatif Al Buraiki, Coordinator of the Certificate of Origin at the Qatar Chamber, delivered the first session which highlighted the state of Qatar’s experience in issuing the Arab e-COs.

Al Buraiki reviewed the steps of registration by companies in the Arab e-CO service, which was launched by the Chamber in 2020. He also explained how companies submit the application and verify the validity of the issued certificate.

In the second and third session, Dr. Tamer Mahmoud, an international expert specialised in rules of origin, reviewed the development of the issuance of certificate of origin and its provisions within the framework of the GAFTA.

He also highlighted the mechanisms for verifying the validity of the issuance of the Arab certificate of origin.

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