Streamlining Operational Certification Procedures (OCPs) in Asian FTAs:

Lessons Learned and Best Practices

In the diverse landscape of Asia and the Pacific, each Free Trade Agreement (FTA) comes with its unique set of product-specific rules of origin (PSROs) and Operational Certification Procedures (OCPs), presenting additional compliance costs for businesses. OCPs refer to the administrative steps and documentary evidence required to authenticate the origin of goods at customs, with the Certificate of Origin (CO) being the most prevalent example. However, the scope of OCPs extends beyond COs, encompassing various provisions related to shipping methods and associated documentation.

Over the years, the region has been, developing numerous CO forms alongside their specific requirements. For instance, each ASEAN +1 free trade agreement (FTA) provides for a different CO form.

As awareness of these complexities has grown, there have been efforts to streamline OCPs through the introduction of IT and digital solutions, such as Electronic Certificates of Origin (E-COs), and most recently Electronic Origin Data Exchanges (EODES) like the E-Form D via ASEAN single window. Despite these advancements, the solutions appear to lack to the necessary coordination ending up repeating as scenario as varied as the COs themselves, often leading to overlap.

This session is part of a concerted effort by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the participation of UNCTAD, to provide a way forward in converging and streamlining PSROS and OCPs in FTAS to Asian and Pacific Governments and regional secretariat such ASEAN and the RCEP. It will delve into the debate over the best practices for origin certification and OCP management, highlighting the existence of different schools of thought. The goal is to foster a consensus among Asian and Pacific governments to converge on best practices to facilitate trade more effectively across the region.

Participants will hear from private sector voices on the realities of complying with diverse CO requirements, including E-CO initiatives and self-declaration processes. Experts will discuss the multifaceted costs and challenges of origin compliance under different FTAs, extending to direct shipments and third-party invoicing among other areas.

Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of the trade compliance landscape, innovative strategies to lessen administrative burdens, and insights into collaborative efforts aimed at creating a more streamlined trade environment in Asia and the Pacific.

Event details:


2:00pm–5:00pm (Tashkent time GMT+5)
Wednesday, 03 April 2024

Silkroad by Minyoun Hotel, Samarkand, Uzbekistan


Agenda (PDF)


  • Paulo Rodelio Halili
    Senior Economics Officer, Economic Research and Development Impact Department, Asian Development Bank
  • Amiel Bryan Esperanza
    Operations Assistant, Economic Research and Development Impact Department, Asian Development Bank
  • Gerald Pascua
    Consultant, Economic Research and Development Impact Department, Asian Development Bank


Wednesday, 3 April 2024
2–5pm (Tashkent time)

2:00 – 2:05

2:05 – 2:15
Introduction to ADB research on rules of origin and OCP
Ms. Pramila Crivelli Economist, Regional Cooperation and Integration Division, Economic Research and Development Impact Department, Asian Development Bank

Pramila A. Crivelli is an economist at the Economic Research and Development Impact Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). She also currently works on a short-term assignment in ADB’s Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division of the Central and West Asia Department. Her main fields of specialization include applied econometrics, international trade policy, negotiations, and implementation of regional trade agreements, particularly in the areas of market access and rules of origin. At ADB, her current work also covers digital trade policy, aid for trade, LDC graduation, and digital services. Before joining ADB in November 2020, Dr. Crivelli was an assistant professor at the Goethe University Frankfurt, where she led the Chair of International Trade. Her work has been published in academic peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of International Economics and The World Economy. With strong expertise in applied economic policy and technical cooperation, she has served as an economic affairs officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, a researcher at the European University Institute, and the World Trade Organization. Dr. Crivelli has extensive experience in delivering capacity-building and advisory services to governments, public and private institutions, and trade negotiators in multilateral and regional fora. She has also carried out consultancies for various clients in Asia and Africa. She received her PhD in economics from the University of Geneva.

2:15 – 2:30
A Comparative Analysis of Operational Certification Procedures (OCPs) in ASEAN FTAs, CPTPP and RCEP and Selected FTAs: Lessons Learned and Best Practices
Mr. Stefano Inama Chief of Technical Assistance and Enhanced Integrated Framework, UNCTAD

Stefano Inama is a senior trade lawyer and Chief of Technical Assistance in the Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes of UNCTAD. He has more than 30 years of experience in designing, managing, and delivering research and capacity building programs in Asia—Pacific, Africa, and Latin America, with a focus on legal, regulatory and institutional trade and customs issues, including tariff reform, trade law, regional trade agreements, tariff preferences and rules of origin governing market access. He holds masters and LLM degrees from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium. He is the author of one of the most comprehensive analytical books on rules of origin (Rules of Origin in International Trade, Cambridge University Press 2009) and has co-authored ASEAN Rules of Origin: A Way Forward and The Foundations of the ASEAN Economic Community, Cambridge University Press 2015.

2:30 – 3:00
Developing Member Countries’ challenges

Ms. Maria Esperanza F. Alconel International Trade Expert and Project Consultant, Advisory on Market Access and Engagement Strategy, AsianDevelopmentBank

Maes F. Alconcel is an international trade expert, with almost 19 years of experience in promoting and facilitating the participation of MSMEs in international trade, focusing on the Asia-Pacific/ASEAN region. She began her career as an international trade negotiator for the Philippines, and subsequently embarked as the head of the FTAs and International Relations Department of the Singapore Business Federation. Maes holds two Master’s degrees (in Public Administration from the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and in International Trade from the IE University in Madrid, Spain) and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences (Economics and Political Science) from the University of the Philippines.

Lao PDR:
Mr. Phoxay Inthaboualy Deputy Director, Department of Import and Export, Ministry of Import and Commerce, Lao PDR

Phoxai Inthaboualy is Deputy Director of Rules of Origin Division at the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Lao PDR. His experience spans seven years specialization in rules of origin in FTAs such as ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), ASEAN Free Trade Area and its intensification, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). He has five years specialization in trade facilitation and nontariff measure issues in ASEAN and WTO contexts. Prior to his current role, he has also dealt with border trade issues in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

H.E. Chantha Un Director, Import-Export Department, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia

Chantha Un serves as Director of Export-Import Department of the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia since 2020, and has been as a civil servant since 1998. As Director, his main responsibility is to lead the issuing Certificate of Origin body and to research on the trade policies and strategy planning for cross-border trade facilitation. Prior to his current role, he was part of the RCEP negotiation sub-working group on Rules of Origin. Mr. Chantha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing, from National Institute of Management joined program with Georgetown University and University of San Francisco, Phnom Penh in 1998 and in 2003, and holds a master’s degree in Korean Economy from Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea.

3:00 – 3:10
Plenary discussion and Q&A

3:10 – 3:15
Coffee break

3:15 – 3:35
Moving from traditional OCPs to EODES towards Self-certification: Experiences and best practices I

Mr. Atsushi Tanaka Deputy Director, Office of Rules of Origin, Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance, Japan

Atsushi Tanaka is a Deputy Director of the Office of Rules of Origin, Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance of Japan. His career spans more than 20 years in the Customs administration of Japan, involved in various fields of Customs work, including international Customs cooperation and negotiation of trade agreements. He is a World Customs Organization (WCO)-recognized expert on rules of origin, and was posted to the WCO Secretariat in Brussels for 4 years from 2010 to 2014 as a Technical Attaché in the Origin Sub-Directorate where he led the drafting of the WCO Guidelines on Certification and Verification of Origin. Since returning to his home Customs administration in 2014, he has been part of the Japanese delegation to the negotiations of some key mega-FTAs, including the TPP, Japan-EU EPA, and RCEP, as well as overseeing the implementation of rules of origin in the existing FTAs/EPAs.

Republic of Korea:
Mr. Chulhun Lee Director, External Relations Division, Korea Customs Services

Chulhun Lee is currently the Director, External Relations Division, Korea Customs Services. With a career spanning two decades, some of his notable achievements include pioneering the implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program at Korea Customs Service and collaborating with the World Customs Organization (WCO) to support member countries in AEO program adoption. In his role as Deputy Head at the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO A/P), Dr. LEE played a crucial role in facilitating information and intelligence exchange against cross-border crimes and providing technical assistance to Member administrations.

3:35 – 3:40
Plenary discussion and Q&A

3:40 – 4:00
Moving from traditional OCPs to EODES towards Self-certification: Experiences and best practices II

European Union:
Ms. Jūratė ┼áidlauskaitė Chief Specialist, Tariff Department, Ministry of Finance, Republic of Lithuania

Jūratė Šidlauskaitė is currently Chief Specialist in the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance, Republic of Lithuania. As such, Ms. Šidlauskaite has been involved in the following work: (i) arrangement of application of rules of origin and preferential tariff measures; (ii) drafting legislation, providing comments for the EU draft legislation; (iii) consultation and education on origin related issues for customs officials and business society; (iv) coordination and implementation of post verification procedure; (v) participation in risk management in the area of origin of goods; and (vi) participation in projects concerning origin issues.

New Zealand:
Mr. Saba Vallipuram Senior Advisor, New Zealand Customs Service

Saba Vallipuram has been working for New Zealand Customs Service as a Senior Advisor for over 21 years. He is an experienced international trade, economic and customs policy advisor, free trade agreement negotiator of Rules of Origin and Customs Chapters and possesses significant experience in implementation of FTAs. He is, among others, a Co-chair of the Sub-committee on Rules of Origin of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA and a World Customs Organization-accredited Expert Trainer on Rules of Origin.

4:00 – 4:05
Plenary discussion and Q&A

4:05 – 4:45
OCP Trade facilitating practices - Private sector’s views
Mr. Pier Paolo Ghetti Partner, Deloitte Global Trade Advisory

Pier Paolo Ghetti is a partner at Deloitte and leads the Italian Global Trade Advisory team. He has assisted various multinational and SME companies across different sectors to assess their global supply chain indirect tax model with the aim to be compliant as well as to facilitate the most beneficial customs and international trade position. His experience includes traditional topics such as customs valuation, tariff classification and origin as well as customs processes reviews and optimization, including automation of trade procedures and processes.

Mr. Kit Hickey Group Customs Manager, Fonterra Cooperative Group, Ltd

Kit Hickey is Customs Manager at the Fonterra Cooperative Group (New Zealand), and Chair of the WCO Regional Private Sector Group — Asia Pacific. He provides specialist customs advice for the cooperative’s manufacturing and trading activities, including developing/delivering training packages and engaging with customs and trade administrations at the policy and operational levels. Before joining Fonterra, he worked for the New Zealand Customs Service as a classification, valuation, and origin specialist and as a trade negotiator for rules of origin and operational certification procedures. He was the customs delegate to APEC and STAR and has lived in the UK, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Japan.

Mr. Massimo Trabucco Head of Group Customs, Nestlé

Massimo Trabucco is Head of Group Customs at Nestlé where he leads customs and trade policy at global level, and represents Nestlé as technical expert within international bodies including on free trade agreements. Prior to his current role, he worked as Group Customs Policy Manager at Ferrero from 2007 to 2016, and as official of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2007 dealing with communication and external relations. He holds a Master’s degree in International and Diplomatic Studies from Turin University.

Mr. Michel Anliker Attorney at Law, Schindler Group

Michel Anliker is Head Customs Import and Export Compliance of the Schindler Group, managing a large variety of Customs and Global Trade Topics, such as Origin / FTA utilization, Customs Valuation, Export Controls, SAP GTS implementation, and many more. Michel is an Attorney-at-Law, worked many years in global consultancy, including leading roles. He has over 18 years of experience in Customs and Global Trade topics and worked 3.5 years in Singapore, advising multinational companies in FTAs and Customs Optimizations.

4:45 – 4:55
Plenary discussion and Q&A

4:55 – 5:00
Conclusion and way forward