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Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

Technical barriers to trade

Technical regulations and product standards may vary from country to country. Having many different regulations and standards makes life difficult for producers and exporters. If regulations are set arbitrarily, they could be used as an excuse for protectionism.

The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade tries to ensure that regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles, while also providing members with the right to implement measures to achieve legitimate policy objectives, such as the protection of human health and safety, or the environment.

> TBT Information Management System: a database of WTO information on TBT
(Notifications, specific trade concerns, other documents, enquiry points, etc)

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See also:
> Technical assistance related to Technical Barriers to Trade

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News  back to top


Introduction  back to top

What are Technical Barriers to Trade?
This link leads to the guide to the WTO “Understanding the WTO”

Understanding the TBT Agreement — a more technical explanation


The mandate  back to top

Browse or download the text of the TBT Agreement from the legal texts gateway

Find decisions of WTO bodies concerning the TBT Agreement in the Analytical Index — Guide to WTO Law and Practice

Find technical assistance activities related to the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement


TBT committee and official documents  back to top

Work on technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures in the WTO is handled by the TBT Committee, which reports to the Council for Trade in Goods. The current chair is .

Discussions are officially recorded in summary reports (minutes) of the Committee’s meetings and in its annual reviews.

> Search here for TBT documents

National enquiry points by country in alphabetical order

Alternatively go to the TBT Information Management System, which offers a wide range of search criteria.

Subscribe here to receive TBT documents by e-mail, usually once a week. The notifications are sent only in the original language (English, French or Spanish)

 TBT events 
  • 4 November 2014: Thematic Session on conformity assessment procedures and technical assistance and special treatment (Informal meeting, Geneva)

  • 5-6 November 2014: TBT Committee Regular Meeting, Geneva

Previous events