Mark Halle, Executive Director, IISD-Europe
Private standards are increasing in number, and they affect trade, but their status in the WTO remains problematic. Our concern is to bring more of these standards within the normative framework of the trade regime — that is, we worry that these private forms of social order can conflict with the fundamental norms of transparency and non‑discrimination. We will discuss one aspect of the problem: How reclusive should the WTO allow product standards to be? Should WTO encourage its members to apply to private standards the WTO rules for adopting those standards that already come under the aegis of the WTO? To what extent do private standards bodies already approximate the transparency recommendations of the SPS and TBT Agreements?