WTO: 2016 NEWS ITEMS

8-10 March 2016

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:

DG Azevêdo said: “Today WTO Members discussed the 500th specific trade concern. It sounds technical but actually this is about dealing with all sorts of real-life issues that we all care about — from the use of chemicals in toys to the sugar, salt and fat content of our food. The WTO provides a forum for members to raise and resolve these concerns thereby avoiding them escalating into disputes. This is the unseen but essential daily work that keeps trade flowing — and it can only be done through the WTO.” 

Specific trade concerns — food and drinks in focus

The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee gives WTO members an opportunity to discuss each other’s product regulations and standards and the impact these have on companies and consumers. These discussions are called “specific trade concerns” — STCs for short.

According to WTO rules, members can regulate their products to protect consumer safety and health, but they need to do it in a way that does not make trade in these products unnecessarily burdensome. This preliminary discussion may contribute to avoid trade frictions from reaching the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). Since 1995, less than 2 per cent of STCs discussed in the TBT Committee have become trade disputes.

Breakdown of the main product groups addressed in STCs during 2015:

Source: WTO

Following the trend from 2015, STCs on food and drink regulations were at the top of the agenda of this meeting. Among the eleven new trade concerns raised, seven related to food and drinks. In total, 60 specific trade concerns were raised. The full list of STCs is here.

New STCs addressed at the meeting include:

  • Eight members (Australia, Canada, Chile, the European Union (EU), Guatemala, Japan, the United States (US) and New Zealand) questioned the consistency of India's requirements with international standards and practices of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) and the CODEX Alimentarius Commission, such as with respect to compositional requirements and alcohol content limits for beer, wine and spirits. Members said these new requirements could prevent certain alcohol products from being placed on the Indian market. India said it would consider members' concerns in the finalization of the regulation.
  • The EU and Canada supported South Africa's objective of reducing the harmful use of alcohol, but expressed concerns about the changes to alcohol regulations requiring manufacturers to use seven different health warning labels during a twelve-month cycle. South Africa emphasized the importance of reducing the harmful use of alcohol for public health, and said that a public consultation was conducted on the regulation and all comments received were considered.
  • Infant formula:Two new STCs were raised on infant formula; the first regarding China's infant formula registration requirements, and the second on Thailand's draft act on marketing and promotion of food for infants and young children.

The EU, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand voiced concerns about China's requirements that would limit the number of infant formula products that a company could register to nine recipes, and three product lines. Members questioned the rationale for these limits, and asked about possible duplication with existing registration requirements. China said that the comment period on the notification of this regulation closed a few days before the meeting, and that the concerns of members would be brought back to Beijing for discussion.

While the US expressed strong support for Thailand's efforts to ensure that marketing of infant formula did not negatively impact breastfeeding, it asked about the scientific explanation for Thailand's proposed ban on marketing and advertising of follow-up formula intended for children up to 36 months of age. Thailand said this measure had recently been notified to the WTO, and that it would forward the US comments to the Thai Ministry of Public Health for consideration.

 

Information sharing via thematic sessions

Members launched the work programme for 2016-2018 (agreed in the Seventh Triennial Review) by discussing how they are working with each other in their Regional Trade Agreements and Free Trade Agreements to reduce barriers to trade from testing and certification, as part of their work on conformity assessment procedures. The Committee heard presentations about developments in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — concluded on 5 October 2015 by 12 countries — the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as bilateral arrangements in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), EU-Korea FTA, Switzerland-China FTA, China-New Zealand FTA, and China-Korea FTA. Members also shared their experiences in using international and regional schemes for conformity assessment to facilitate trade, such as: the IECEE CB Scheme; OECD Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD); OIML Mutual Acceptance Arrangement; ILAC/IAF; UNECE type approval certificates for motor vehicles; and the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S).

Members also discussed how they use regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) to assess the impact that regulations have on trade. Five Members (Korea, China, US, Australia and EU) shared their approaches, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) explained their work on regulatory policy and governance. Some main points were the importance of public consultations, methodologies for identifying and assessing the trade impacts of regulation in RIAs, and which regulations should be subject to RIA.

Read the Chairperson’s reports on the thematic session on conformity assessment procedures here and on regulatory impact assessments here.

 

Annual Review of the TBT Committee

The Committee completed its 21st annual review, which reports on its 2015 activities. During the previous year, notifications decreased by 12% compared to 2014 (to a total of 1,989 notifications). Nevertheless, the trend since 2005 has been an upward one driven increasingly by developing members. In 2015, developing Members continued to submit significantly more new notifications than developed members — also the number of notifications from LDCs increased during the year. A total of 37 technical assistance (TA) activities on TBT were organized by the WTO in 2015, and TBT-related TA activities are in high demand by WTO members. The full report is here.

TBT notifications by WTO members, 1995-2015:

 

Developments in observer organizations to the TBT Committee

The full list of observer organizations working with the TBT Committee is here

 

Next meeting

  • 14-16 June: TBT Committee regular and informal meetings — delegations will continue discussions on standards and commence an exchange in the area of regulatory cooperation.

 

Specific trade concerns: full list

Note: Only those members that signalled their intention to raise an STC in advance of the TBT Committee meeting are listed in the column “Member(s) raising”. Other members can join an STC by taking the floor during the meeting.

New concerns  Show details

Specific Trade Concern

Notification symbol/brief description of measure

Member(s) raising

China — Formula Registration Regulation for Infant and Follow-Up Formula

G/TBT/N/CHN/1165

Republic of Korea

India — Draft Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standards) Regulations, 2015

G/TBT/N/IND/51

European Union
United States

South Africa — Amendment to Regulations Relating to Health Messages on Container Labels of Alcoholic Beverages

G/TBT/N/ZAF/48/Rev.1

European Union

United Arab Emirates — Control scheme to restrict the use of hazardous materials in electronic and electrical devices

G/TBT/N/ARE/265

European Union

Russia — Rules of cement certification

 

European Union

Hungary — Proposal for Government Decree on the amendment of Government Decree 39/2013 (of 14 February 2013) on the Manufacture, Placement on the Market and Control of Tobacco Products, Combined Warnings and the Detailed Rules for the Application of the Health-Protection Fine

G/TBT/N/HUN/31

Indonesia

France — Amendment 367 on Biodiversity Law

 

Indonesia

Russia — Implementation plan related to excise tax on palm oil and soda products

 

Indonesia

Bolivia — Food Labelling and Advertising Law

 

United States

Indonesia — Halal Product Assurance Law No. 33 of 2014

 

United States

Thailand — Milk Code –Draft Act on Controlling to the Marketing Promotion on Food for Infant and Young Children and Other Related Products BE (G/TBT/N/THA/471)

G/TBT/N/THA/471

United States

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Concerns previously raised  Show details

(IMS ID numbers are “specific trade concerns” numbers in the TBT Information Management System database. Notifications and other documents can also be found in WTO docs online)

Specific Trade Concern

Notification symbol/brief description of measure

Member(s) raising

IMS item number

India — Pneumatic tyres and tubes for automotive vehicles

G/TBT/N/IND/20
G/TBT/N/IND/20/Add.1
G/TBT/N/IND/40
G/TBT/N/IND/40/Rev.1

Japan
European Union

133

China — Provisions for the Administration of Cosmetics Application Acceptance

G/TBT/N/CHN/821
G/TBT/N/CHN/937

Japan
European Union

296

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

 

Canada
European Union
United States

274

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)

 

Canada
European Union

294

Russia — Draft Technical Regulation on Alcoholic Drinks Safety

G/TBT/N/RUS/2

European Union

332

Korea — Regulation on Registration and Evaluation of Chemical Material

 

United States

305

Indonesia — Technical Guidelines for the Implementation of the Adoption and Supervision of Indonesian National Standards for Obligatory Toy Safety

G/TBT/N/IDN/64

European Union
Canada
United States

328

India — Food Safety and Standards Regulation — Food Labelling Requirements

G/TBT/N/IND/34
G/TBT/N/IND/43
G/TBT/N/IND/46

European Union
United States

298

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

G/TBT/N/EU/246
G/TBT/N/EU/246/Add.1

United States

345

Chile — Proposed amendment to the Food Health Regulations, Supreme Decree No. 977/96

G/TBT/N/CHL/219 G/TBT/N/CHL/219/Add.1
G/TBT/N/CHL/221 G/TBT/N/CHL/282

Canada
Mexico

370

India — Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2012

G/TBT/N/IND/47 G/TBT/N/IND/47/Add.1
G/TBT/IND/47/Add.1/Corr.1

Republic of Korea
Canada
European Union
United States

367

Peru — Act to Promote Healthy Eating Among Children and Adolescents

 

United States
Mexico

383

European Union — Revised Proposal for the Categorization of Compounds as Endocrine Disruptors of 19 February 2013 by DG Environment

 

Argentina
Canada
United States

393

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

G/TBT/N/IDN/84

European Union

389

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

G/TBT/N/ECU/19, G/TBT/N/ECU/19/Add.1– Add.10

Canada
European Union
Mexico

411

Russia — Safety of products for children and adolescents 

G/TBT/N/RUS/29

European Union

418

India — Labelling Regulations for Canola Oil

 

Canada

413

Thailand — Draft Notification of the Alcoholic Beverages Control, Re: Rules, Procedure and condition for Labels of Alcoholic Beverages, issued under B.E.

G/TBT/N/THA/437
G/TBT/N/THA/437/Add.1
G/SPS/N/THA/221/Add.1

European Union
United States
Canada
Mexico

427

Ecuador — Draft Technical Regulation of the Ecuadorian Standardization Institute (PRTE INEN) No. 189: “Labelling of Alcoholic Beverages”

G/TBT/N/ECU/243

European Union
United States
Mexico

433

China — Regulations for the Supervision and Administration of Medical Devices (Order No. 650 of the State Council)

G/TBT/N/CHN/1022
G/TBT/N/CHN/1023
G/TBT/N/CHN/1024
G/TBT/N/CHN/1025
G/TBT/N/CHN/1026
G/TBT/N/CHN/1029

Canada
European Union

428

Peru — Implementing Regulations of 14 November 2012 for Moratorium on Planting Genetically Engineered Crops

 

Mexico

392

Ecuador — Proposed Motor Vehicle Safety Regulatory Requirements (RTE INEN 034)

G/TBT/N/ECU/32
G/TBT/N/ECU/32/Add.1-6

Mexico

409

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Decree of the Saudi Arabian Ministerial Council on the sale and marketing of energy drinks of 4 March 2014

G/TBT/N/SAU/669
G/TBT/N/ARE/262
G/TBT/N/QAT/389
G/TBT/N/SAU/910
G/TBT/N/SAU/912

Switzerland
United States

442

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

G/TBT/N/BRA/608

Mexico

443

Ecuador — (PRTE INEN) No. 111: Energy efficiency. Clothes dryers. Labelling

G/TBT/N/ECU/152
G/TBT/N/ECU/152/Add.1
G/TBT/N/ECU/87
G/TBT/N/ECU/87/Add.1-4

Mexico

455

European Union — Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (Common Criteria) certification in the EU

 

China

448

China — Administrative Measure on Cosmetics Labelling (AMCL)

G/TBT/N/CHN/1064

Japan
Canada
European Union

456

China — Banking IT Equipment Security Regulation

 

Japan
Canada
European Union

457

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

 

Canada
Australia

461

Ecuador — Emergency Technical Regulation (RTE) No. 088: “Surface tension agents”, of the Ecuadorian Standardization Institute (INEN)

G/TBT/N/ECU/117
G/TBT/N/ECU/117/Add.1-2
G/TBT/N/ECU/106
G/TBT/N/ECU/106/Add.1-3

Mexico

458

European Union — Proposed modification of Regulation (EC)1829/2003 referring to genetically modified organisms. 

G/TBT/N/EU/284

Canada

464

Indonesia — MOI 69/2014 Article 3: LCR Requirements for LTE Devices — Requirement that Domestic Component Level (TKDN) of LTE TDD & FDD broadband services equipment

 

Canada

472

Chinese Taipei — GMO Labelling

G/TBT/N/TPKM/168
G/TBT/N/TPKM/168/Add.1
G/TBT/N/TPKM/168/Rev.1

Canada
United States

467

China — Registration Fees for Drugs and Medical Device Products

 

Canada

466

Colombia — Draft Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Decree “Restructuring the National Quality Subsystem and amending Decree No. 2269 of 1993”

G/TBT/N/COL/201

Canada

432

Turkey — Toy Communique 01/2015

 

United States

473

Brazil — Draft Ordinance Act Nº. 374, 27 November 2014 (Portaria SDA/MAPA 374/2014)

G/TBT/N/BRA/613

European Union

470

China — Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) Information and Communication Technology Regulation

 

United States
Canada
European Union

489

Brazil — Toy Certification; Ordinance No. 489, No. 310 and draft administrative rule No. 321

G/TBT/N/BRA/612

Canada
European Union
United States

478

Colombia — Testing Requirements to be met by Toys and their Components and Accessories

G/TBT/N/COL/109
G/TBT/N/COL/109/Add.1

Canada
Mexico

479

Korea — Standards and Specifications for Wood Products

G/TBT/N/KOR/563
G/TBT/N/KOR/599

United States

491

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 species 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)

G/TBT/N/EU/197
G/TBT/N/EU/198

United States

492

China — Interim Measures for Quality Management of Commercial Coal

 

Canada
Australia

477

China — Guidance for Notification and Registration for New Chemicals

 

United States

490

Saudi Arabia — Draft for update of the Technical Regulation No. SASO 2857:2014 “Vehicle Tires Rolling Resistance and Wet Grip Requirements” —

G/TBT/N/SAU/835

Republic of Korea
European Union

488

European Union — Restriction on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Tyres as specified in Annex XVII of REACH

 

China

480

India — The Stainless Steel Products (Quality Control) Order, 2015

G/TBT/N/IND/50

European Union

486

Russian Federation — Measure affecting import of Ukrainian wallpaper

 

Ukraine

476

United Kingdom — Proposal to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products

G/TBT/N/GBR/24

Indonesia

424

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