The Origin Institute

Brian Staples


Senior International Trade Expert with 30 years progressive experience with multi-national corporations and multilateral institutions covering a broad knowledge of technical trade fundamentals such as rules of origin, customs procedures, customs verification audits and pre-audits, valuation, duty and tax deferral programs and the Harmonized System of Classification, combined with an interest in trade policy issues including trade facilitation and the security agenda.

Founding Director of the Origin Institute (see

Principal (1998 – Present)
Trade Facilitation Services, Ottawa, Ontario

Senior Fellow (1999 – 2003)
Technical Trade and Customs Reform Advisor to the Centre for Trade Policy and Law, Ottawa, Ontario

Senior Consultant and Vice-President (1981 – 1998)
Foster International Inc., Ottawa, Ontario - Partner

Customs Broker & Customs Consultant (1978 – 1981)
Merchant Customs Brokers Ltd., Montreal, Quebec Arthur Brunette Ltd., Montreal, Quebec

Representative Services

(see Appendix “A” for detailed international activities)
  • Provide tariff relief and consulting to multi-national clients and projects on manufacturing inputs and capital goods including duty and tax deferral regimes
  • Valuation and origin training for the private sector and from the private sector perspective.
  • Comprehensive pre-audits and support for/during multi-program verification audits and NAFTA origin audits.
  • Extensive work in the apparel sector in conjunction with the Canadian Apparel Federation; prepared numerous submissions to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal for textile tariff relief.
  • Supply technical trade solutions to overcome trade barriers erected by the Canadian supply management lobby on behalf of the food service industry.
  • Related technical assistance and capacity building activities on behalf of various international institutions and regional development banks including the World Bank, UNCTAD, ITC, IDB and the ADB.

Project Management

Active in the marketing and supply of commodity tax and trade consulting services to major capital projects. Projects have included:
  • Husky Oil Bi-Provincial Upgrader: heavy oil
  • Magnesium Company of Canada – magnesium plant
  • Canadian Reynolds Metal Company Ltd. – aluminum plant expansion
  • Newgrade Energy – heavy oil upgrader
  • Cominco – Little Cornwalis Island Development – ore concentration plan
  • Q.I.T. Fer et Titane Inc. – steel plant
  • Celanese – methanol plant, Alberta


Diploma, International Freight Forwarders Association (1993)

Bachelor of Arts in Law and Philosophy, Carleton University (1989)

Professional Development & Additional Qualifications

Customs Brokers Qualification: CUSTOMS HOUSE BROKERS LICENSING CTTEE. (1980)


Cours de francais moyen, L'INSTITUT D'ETUDES FRANCAISES POUR LES ETUDIANTS ETRANGERS, Aix-en-Provence, France (1973 – 1975)

Introduction to Spanish, Algonquin College, Ottawa (2001)

Certified Customs Specialist, Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (2004)


Member: Trade Policy Committee, Canadian Council for International Business (Canadian Secretariat of the International Chamber of Commerce and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the O.E.C.D.)

International Affairs Committee, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Global Facilitation Partnership for Transportation and Trade

International Chamber of Commerce - Commission on Customs and Trade Regulations (Paris – France)


Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank

  • Rules of Origin: History, Theory and the Canadian Experience under FTA and NAFTA (paper): IDB
  • Belize: Assisted the private sector in Belize in assessing a free trade agreement proposal from Mexico: Trade Policy Needs Analysis in conjunction with the Trade Facilitation Office Canada
  • Invited by the IDB, INTAL and the Central American Secretariat of Economic Integration (SIECA) to a workshop on Rules of Origin in Guatemala
  • Presented a seminar and prepared a paper on Trade Facilitation for the World Bank (currently featured on their WTO 2000 website and Harvard’s Center for International Development website) and participating in the World Bank’s Global Facilitation Partnership

Centre for Trade Policy and Law, co-sponsored by the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (Carleton University) and the Faculty of Law (University of Ottawa)

Participated in delivery of workshops on trade in goods and technical customs issues including:

  • Rules of Origin and International Trade Agreements, Federacion de Entiadades Privadas de Centroamerica y Panama (representing 7 Latin American countries)
  • Canada-China Trade and Investment Issues, World University Service of Canada
  • Russia and the International Trading System, Bureau of Assistance for Central and Eastern Europe, Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
  • Trade Policy and Trade Development for the Hemisphere, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • Canada and the International Trading System, Industry Canada
  • South Africa and the International Trading Regime, DFAIT
  • Rules of Origin Seminar in Belize

Industry Canada (Policy Papers)

  • Free Trade Zones for Canada?
  • International Trade and Regulatory Convergence: A Critical Examination of Canada's Steel and Clothing Sectors
  • Trade Facilitation: An Outline and Implications for Industry Canada


  • Customs valuation training in West Africa, Conakry and Abidjan, December 1998
  • Design of Customs valuation course material and valuation implementation programs, January and March 1999 (London and Geneva)
  • Customs reform needs analysis in Ecuador (April, 1999)
  • Customs Reform and Trade Training research in Hanoi (July, 1999)
  • General Preferential Tariff and Rules of Origin training in Manila (July 1999)
  • Trade Negotiating Needs Analysis and Customs Reform analysis throughout Central America (Spring 2000)
  • Presentation on the Rules of Origin and Trade Facilitation at Georgetown University (School of Foreign Service)- OAS-WTO Conference (Summer 2000)
  • Presenter at the Seminar on Electronic Commerce organized by the Organization of American States Trade Unit and the University of Guadalajara Law School, Guadalajara, Mexico, October 23-24, 2000
  • At the invitation of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency attended the Customs FTAA conference in Miami during which the IDB presented the Multilateral Investment Fund program for the implementation of the Business Facilitation Measures
  • Vancouver Port Authority re their Free Trade Zone Study (2001)
  • Invited to participate in Mexico’s current Customs Reform Initiative: March 2001 – Bonded Warehouse Review
  • Rules of Origin Workshop for the CRN: Barbados – May 2001
  • Rules of Origin Training – Georgetown University – June 2001
  • Free Trade Zone & Special Regime Study for the Inter-American Development Bank – 20002-2003
  • Advisor to Costa Rica during the Canada – Costa Rica FTA negotiations
  • Rules of Origin Training in Panama-Guatemala-Honduras-Nicaragua-El Salvador- Belize: 2002
  • Rules of Origin Seminars: IDB-Montevideo, the Dominican Republic and Peru -2002
  • Trade Facilitation Research- OECD – 2003
  • November 2002 and 2003 – Rules of Origin needs analysis in Viet Nam for the Office of Arthur Dunkel – The Ideas Centre (Geneva).
  • February-March 2004: Rules of origin training workshop for the Ministry of Justice in Hanoi for the Canadian International Development Agency.
  • Trade facilitation research for the Institute for International Economics (Washington DC) re measuring the benefits of trade facilitation in context of the APEC undertaking to reduce transaction costs by 5% by the year 2007.
  • Trade facilitation presenter and the Consumer Unity & Trust Society Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) Brainstorming Meeting of “International Working Group on Doha Agenda II” and Achieving Better Market Access”, Jaipur, India – June 28th & 29th, 2004.
  • Trade facilitation presenter at the CUTS-CITEE, UN-NGLS, Evian Group Symposium on the “July Package” – November 3rd, 2004, Geneva.
  • Extensive representations before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to secure tariff relief on imported fabrics not available from domestic production.
  • Inter-American Development Bank Rules of Origin Workshop – Costa Rica (spring 2005); presented paper on Origin Certification and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
  • APEC WTO capacity Building Group – Workshop on the Best Practices in Capacity Building for Trade Facilitation in Jeju, Korea, on May 22-23, 2005 (Canadian International Development Agency): presenter on Trade Facilitation and the Security Agenda.
  • Belize – follow up to WTO Trade Policy Review relating to tariff simplification and import licensing (Commonwealth Secretariat – June, 2005).
  • Rules of Origin Video Conference for the Andean Community prepared and hosted by the World Bank (June – 2005).
  • September 2005: Workshop Co-Presenter in Jakarta-Bandung-Surabaya Indonesia for the International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO) and EU Asia Trust Fund Series sponsored series on “Understanding the Multilateral Trading System rules and their implications for business sectors”
  • October 2005: Inter-American Development Bank Workshop in Managua on “Exporting to the United States”.
  • In the fall of 2005, Mr. Staples worked with the team from the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers, which developed the CCS (Certified Customs Specialist) course for the United States.
  • May 2006: US-AID Project in Sri Lanka re creating a Customs web site that includes all related legislation and regulations.
  • October-November 2007: Rules of Origin Workshop – Thailand (Bangkok): APEC Economic Integration Program (Technical Assistance to Thailand TA T-3 Customs Department: Rules of Origin – Conference Board of Canada).
  • March/April/June 2007: EU GSP Rules of Origin Study in Bangladesh – Bangladesh Trade Support Program (an EU funded study with two missions to Bangladesh).
  • May 2007: IDB sponsored Workshop on Rules of Origin in the Textiles & Apparel Sectors (Bogotá – Columbia)
  • July 17th – 18th, 2008: Presenter on rules of origin at the Asian Development Bank Institute “Noodle Bowl” Conference and Technical Workshop on Impacts of FTAs on Business Activities in East Asia. Related paper in preparation (ADBI, Tokyo)
  • July 2008: Performed in-depth origin interviews with private sector corporations and trade associations in and around Manila with Asian Development Bank officials and specialists.
  • 2008: Research with UNCTAD on LDC rules of origin under the WTO “Duty Free – Quota Free” provisions.
  • January 2009 – April: Trade Facilitation research and policy input to the Inter-American Development including assistance in designing ACP related aid-for-trade proposals for the CARICOM (Guyana)
  • March 2009: Detailed study (including related US and Canadian questionnaires) for the Canadian Embassy in Washington D. C. entitled “Regulation of the Canadian –United States Border – Administrative Requirements for Surface Freight Shipped across the Canada – U. S. Border”.
  • Participant at the WTO – IDB Second Regional Review of Aid for Trade for Latin America and the Caribbean (Montego Bay – Jamaica: May 2009).
  • July – 2009: Presenter at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Latin America/Caribbean and Asia/Pacific Economics and Business Association (LAEBA) held in Singapore.
  • January-to date: Rules of Origin consultant on the ASEAN-EU Programme for Regional Integration Support – Phase II (APRIS II) Technical Assistance Team re the Establishment of an ASEAN Self Certification Scheme for ASAEAN Originating Goods under ATIGA – Phase I including research on self-certification systems used around the world; propose a “certified exporter” regime to key stakeholders; travel to 8 of the ASEAN economies to interview all origin stakeholders (manufacturers/exporters + certifying entities/Customs authorities in the country of export + importers/Customs authorities in the country of import); assistance on draft proposed legislation, related regulations and required changes to ATIGA.
  • February 2010: Presenter on the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement at the Inter-American Development Bank Workshop held in Lima, Peru. Related meetings with MINCATUR.
  • March 2010: “traceability” study prepared for the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC.
  • May 2010: research for the Inter-American Development Bank (Integration Unit) re how different free trade agreements and related rules of origin systems treat “remanufactured” goods.
  • December – March 2011: second traceability study with industry surveys performed for the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC
  • Presenter at the APEC Self-Certification Pathfinder Phase 2: Capacity Building Workshop (CTI 41/2010A) – Brunei (April 4th & 5th, 2011)