WTO: 2015 NEWS ITEMS

TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE: FORMAL MEETING


NOTE:
THIS NEWS STORY is designed to help the public understand developments in the WTO. While every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, it does not prejudice member governments’ positions.

The official record is in the meeting’s minutes.

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MINUTES:

The Committee’s “Triennial Review” sets out a work programme up to 2018. It includes a set of recommendations covering, among other things: transparency, good regulatory practices, testing and certification procedures, and initiatives to promote cooperation between regulators in various countries. The adopted text was circulated on 3 December in document G/TBT/37.

Members have agreed, among other things, to:

  • review the extent to which regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) could facilitate the implementation of the TBT Agreement (para. 1.8)
  • commence a discussion of ongoing, new or emerging regulatory issues, including in specific sectors, with a view to making regulatory cooperation initiatives between members more effective — but without duplicating work of this nature taking place in other bodies (para. 2.3)
  • exchange experiences on how the use of quality infrastructure (such as metrology, testing, certification and accreditation standard bodies) can facilitate trade (para. 3.9)
  • discuss methods of referencing standards in regulation, including members’ initiatives or policies that seek to utilize international standards in regulation (para 4.10)
  • explore the development of an export alert system for TBT notifications in cooperation with other organizations (para. 5.12) in view of the growth in the volume of TBT notifications (see Figure 1) - a global email-based alert system would foster an additional avenue for dialogue among industry, regulators and trade policy officers
  • discuss possible approaches to identifying gaps between the demand and supply of technical assistance in the TBT area for developing members (para. 6.7)
  • advance these discussions in "thematic sessions" as shown below (the topics for 2017–18 will be decided next year).

Thematic sessions in 2016

  • March 2016: conformity assessment procedures, and good regulatory practice
  • June 2016: regulatory cooperation between members, and standards
  • November 2016: transparency (including special meeting of enquiry points), technical assistance, and regulatory cooperation between members

Figure 1: Total TBT notifications within each triennial review period

Jargon buster 

Place the cursor over a term to see its definition:

• enquiry point

• Regulatory impact assessments (RIAs)

• Quality infrastructure

• Metrology

• Referencing standards

> More jargon: glossary

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