WTO: 2015 NEWS ITEMS

TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE: FORMAL MEETING

Specific trade concerns

Delegations raised 17 new specific trade concerns and 39 previously raised concerns during the three-day meeting. This brings the total number of trade concerns discussed in 2015 to 86, the second-highest number in a single year since 1995.

The TBT Committee provides a forum for exchange of information at the technical level among WTO members. This dialogue helps to resolve trade frictions and avoid unnecessary disputes. WTO members have the opportunity to raise concerns in the Committee meetings about other members’ measures which they believe are not consistent with provisions of the TBT Agreement. These specific trade concerns (referred to as “STCs”) can relate to standards, testing and certification procedures, regulations or labelling requirements imposed by the importing country, which are considered to have an impact on both the companies producing these goods and consumers who utilise them. STCs highlight potentially trade-restrictive measures, and are included in the WTO’s regular trade monitoring reports.

New STCs addressed at the meeting include the following:

  • Tyres: Members raised concerns about regulatory measures introduced by the European Union and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding tyres. China questioned the scientific basis for the EU’s method of testing tyres, and stressed that this would impose significant costs on producers. In response, the EU stated that the test method was based on an international standard, and could be carried out in most specialized laboratories. For its part, the EU raised concerns about Saudi Arabia’s tyre labelling requirements, and asked for a longer transition period before the requirements are enforced. Saudi Arabia expressed its willingness to discuss this matter bilaterally.
  • Toy safety: Toy safety was discussed for the second Committee meeting in a row. Members raised concerns about new testing and certification requirements adopted by Brazil and Colombia to address potential safety risks in toys. Canada, together with the European Union and the United States, questioned aspects of Brazil’s certification requirements. They asked, for example, how audits of toy production facilities would be carried out and emphasized the need to document on film the testing of toys as a condition for certification. Meanwhile, the United States and Canada highlighted concerns about Colombia’s requirement that the testing of its imported toys be carried out in Colombia. Brazil and Colombia noted these comments and said that they were in the process of addressing members’ concerns. Brazil and Colombia also highlighted the importance of protecting children from unsafe toys, and stressed that their measures were in accordance with international practices.
  • Cloning: Members discussed a proposed EU ban on products derived from cloned animals. The United States and Brazil considered that this proposed measure may be more trade restrictive than necessary, and questioned the supporting scientific evidence. The EU provided an update on the ongoing decision-making process for this measure and expressed its willingness to further discuss the matter.
  • Food: New food‑related discussions involved organic products as well as apples. Concerns included the limitation of entry points for apples into India (already discussed in other WTO committees) and an EU decision to withdraw “equivalence” recognition of Indian organic products (already discussed in the SPS Committee). “Equivalence” refers to governments recognizing other countries’ measures as acceptable even if they are different from their own, so long as an equivalent level of protection is provided. With respect to India’s decision to limit the entry of apples to the port of Nhava Sheva, some delegations argued that this would increase delays and create additional costs for producers and exporters. India stated that this measure was neither a technical regulation, standard nor conformity assessment procedure, and therefore did not fall within the scope of application of the TBT Agreement. Regarding the EU decision to no longer recognize equivalence of India’s organic products, India was of the view that this measure was overly burdensome for producers and would hinder trade with the EU. The EU in turn argued that India had not satisfied provisions contained in the bilateral agreement which recognized such equivalence.

The discussions will be summarized in a forthcoming document (G/TBT/M/67).

 

Other issues discussed at the meeting

The Committee agreed on a way forward for 2016-18 (the Seventh Triennial Review). The practice of holding so called “thematic sessions” is set to continue — these sessions are intended to deepen members’ exchange of information on various topics in the TBT area. For example, in March 2016, the Committee will continue its work on “good regulatory practices” (GRP) and discuss, among other topics, developments in international and regional systems for conformity assessment. Later in the year delegations will continue discussions on standards and technical assistance and commence an exchange in the area of regulatory cooperation. Some delegations said they would need more time to consult their capitals, but agreed that the Committee could adopt the report if there were no objections raised by 1 December 2015 (officially known as adopting the decision “ad referendum”).

The Committee also adopted its 2015 Annual Report to the WTO’s Council for Trade in Goods (G/L/1138) and agreed to grant ad hoc observer status to the African Standards Organization (ARSO) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in response to requests from these organizations

 

Full list of specific trade concerns

New

  • Russian Federation — Measure affecting the import of Ukrainian wallpaper
  • China — Interim Measures for Quality Management of Commercial Coal
  • Brazil — Toy Certification; Ordinance No. 89, No. 310 and draft administrative rule No. 321
  • Colombia — Testing Requirements to be met by Toys and their Components and Accessories
  • European Union — Restriction on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Tyres as specified in Annex XVII of REACH
  • United Arab Emirates — Labelling — Energy efficiency label for electrical appliances
  • India — Secondary cells and batteries containing alkaline or other non-acid Electrolytes
  • EU — Withdrawal of equivalence for processed organic products
  • Singapore — Plain Packaging for Tobacco Products
  • Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar — Motor Vehicles: General Requirements “No. GSO 42:2003”
  • India — The Stainless Steel Products (Quality Control) Order, 2015
  • India — Amendments in the import policy conditions applicable to apples
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Draft for update of the Technical Regulation No. SASO 2857:2014 “Vehicle Tires Rolling Resistance and Wet Grip Requirements”
  • China — Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) Information and Communication Technology Regulation
  • China — Guidance for Notification and Registration for New Chemicals
  • Korea — Standards and Specifications for Wood Products
  • European Union — Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Cloning of Animals of the bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine specifies kept and reproduced for farming purposes (197) and Proposal for a Council Directive on the placing on the market of food from animal clones (198)

Previously raised

  • India — Pneumatic tyres and tubes for automotive vehicles
  • China — Provisions for the Administration of Cosmetics Application Acceptance
  • India — New Telecommunications related Rules (Department of Telecommunications, No. 842-725/2005-VAS/Vol.III (3 December 2009); No. 10-15/2009-AS-III/193 (18 March 2010); and Nos. 10-15/2009-AS.III/Vol.II/(Pt.)/(25-29) (28 July 2010); Department of Telecommunications, No. 10-15/2009-AS.III/Vol.II/(Pt.)/(30) (28 July 2010) and accompanying template, “Security and Business Continuity Agreement”
  • China — Requirements for information security products, including, inter alia, the Office of State Commercial Cryptography Administration (OSCCA) 1999 Regulation on commercial encryption products and its on-going revision and the Multi-Level Protection Scheme (MLPS)
  • Russian Federation — Draft on Technical Regulation of Alcohol Drinks Safety (published on 24 October 2011)
  • Korea — Regulation on Registration and Evaluation of Chemical Material
  • Indonesia — Technical Guidelines for the Implementation of the Adoption and Supervision of Indonesian National Standards for Obligatory Toy Safety
  • India — Food Safety and Standards Regulation — Food labelling requirements
  • European Union — Draft Implementing Regulations amending Regulation (EC) No. 607/2009 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2008 as regards protected designations of origin and geographical indications, traditional terms, labelling and presentation of certain wine sector products
  • Chile — Proposed amendment to the Food Health Regulations, Supreme Decree No. 977/96
  • India — Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2012
  • Peru — Act to Promote Healthy Eating Among Children and Adolescents
  • Indonesia — Ministry of Health Regulation 30/2013 on the inclusion of sugar, salt and fat content information, as well as health messages on the label of processed foods
  • European Union — Revised Proposal for the Categorization of Compounds as Endocrine Disruptors of 19 February 2013 by DG Environment
  • Ecuador — Resolution No. 116 of the Foreign Trade Committee of Ecuador of 19 November 2013 and Technical Regulation of the Ecuadorian Standardization Institute RTE INEN 022 on the labelling of processed and packaged food products
  • Russian Federation — Safety of products for children and adolescents
  • India — Labelling Regulations for Canola Oil
  • Thailand — Draft Notification of the Alcoholic Beverages Control, Re: Rules, Procedure and condition for Labels of Alcoholic Beverages, issued under B.E.
  • Ecuador — Draft Technical Regulation of the Ecuadorian Standardization Institute (PRTE INEN) No. 189: “Labelling of alcoholic beverages”
  • China — Regulations for the Supervision and Administration of Medical Devices (Order No. 650 of the State Council)
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Certificate of Conformity (not notified) and GSO marking requirements for toys
  • Ecuador — Proposed Motor Vehicle Safety Regulatory Requirements (RTE INEN 034)
  • Ecuador — Cosmetic products
  • Brazil — Draft Technical Resolution No. 69, 9 September 2014, Regarding the Requirement of Describing the Chemical Composition, in Portuguese, in the Label of Personal Hygiene Products, Cosmetics and Perfumes
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Decree of the Saudi Arabian Ministerial Council on the sale and marketing of energy drinks of 4 March 2014
  • Ecuador — (PRTE INEN) No. 111: Energy efficiency. Clothes dryers. Labelling
  • European Union — Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (Common Criteria) certification in the EU
  • China — Administrative Measures on Cosmetic Labelling (AMCL)
  • China — Banking IT Equipment Security Regulation
  • Indonesia — Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture No. 139/Permentan/PD.4, 10 December 2014, concerning Importation of Carcass, Meat and/or Processed Meat Products into the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia, and Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture No. 02/Permentan/PD.4, 10 January 2015, concerning the Amendment of the Regulation of the Minister for Agriculture No. 139/Permentan/PD.4, 10 December 2014
  • European Union — Proposed modification of Regulation (EC)1829/2003 referring to genetically modified organisms.
  • Indonesia — MOI 69/2014 Article 3: LCR Requirements for LTE Devices — Requirement that Domestic Component Level (TKDN) of LTE TDD & FDD broadband services equipment
  • China — Registration Fees for Drugs and Medical Device Products
  • Chinese Taipei — GMO Labelling
  • Turkey — Toy Communique 01/2015
  • Brazil — Draft Ordinance Act Nº. 374, 27 November 2014 (Portaria SDA/MAPA 374/2014) Establishes quality requirements for wine and derivatives of grape and wine (ID 470) (ID 470)
  • Ecuador — Emergency Technical Regulation (RTE) No. 088: “Surface tension agents”, of the Ecuadorian Standardization Institute (INEN)
  • Peru — Implementing Regulations of 14 November 2012 for Moratorium on Planting Genetically Engineered Crops
  • Colombia — Draft Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Decree “Restructuring the National Quality Subsystem and amending Decree No. 2269 of 1993”

Jargon buster 

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