MC13 Declaration on Strengthening Regulatory Cooperation

Delegations recalled the ministerial declaration adopted at the WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in February 2024 on the key role of the TBT Committee for promoting regulatory cooperation aimed at reducing technical barriers to trade (WT/MIN(24)/35).

The declaration stresses the importance of dialogue and cooperation on standards and regulations to address upcoming challenges in the areas of climate change, human health and the digital economy. By engaging at an early point in the TBT Committee — and using the digital tools developed to support its work (ePing, eAgenda) — members can help promote convergence on regulatory matters and avoid trade frictions between trading partners.

At MC13, ministers also adopted a declaration (WT/MIN(24)/36) which highlights the importance of special and differential treatment and capacity building for developing economies as a means of supporting the effective implementation of both the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and the TBT Agreement.

Conformity assessment procedures

The TBT Committee adopted guidelines (G/TBT/54) to support regulators in the choice and design of conformity assessment procedures to ensure that measures to verify compliance with technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade.

Building on previous decisions and recommendations, including in the Eighth and Ninth Triennial Reviews, the TBT Committee's non-prescriptive guidelines on conformity assessment procedures should serve as a trade-facilitating tool, enhancing trust between different regulatory systems and facilitating the acceptance of results of conformity assessment. More information here.

Transparency Working Group makes progress on transparency goals

Following work in the Transparency Working Group, the TBT Committee adopted guidelines (G/TBT/55) for members to follow in notifying the overarching legal and institutional arrangements they have put in place to implement the TBT Agreement.  The guidelines will facilitate access to information on government agencies involved in standards and regulations and the publications and websites they use to disseminate information about their work.

The Chairperson Ms. Anna VITIE (Finland) also reported on significant progress made in the Transparency Working Group in the preparation of a good practice guide on how to comment on a notification.

More information on the Transparency Working Group and its focus of work can be found here.

Specific trade concerns

Members raised 15 new trade concerns and 55 previous ones. The full list is available here.

The new trade concerns relate to certain consumer goods, such as electric vehicles, toys, yoghurt, milk, foodstuff, wines, furniture and cookware. Other concerns are related to cyber security certification schemes and products for telecommunications and broadcasting.

The United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada reported on progress on addressing previously raised trade concerns.

Annual review

The TBT Committee is mandated to carry out an annual review of activities relating to the implementation and operation of the TBT Agreement, including notifications, specific trade concerns, technical assistance activities, and TBT related disputes. At the meeting, the Committee heard some of the main points from the twenty-eighth Annual Review, which is available here.

Highlights from 2023 Annual Review

  • 4,068 notifications of new or changed TBT measures were submitted, the most in any year since 1995.
  • 90 members, i.e. over half of the current WTO membership submitted at least one notification during the year. 
  • 83% of new notifications were submitted by developing and least-developed members, showing a stronger participation of those members.
  • African members were again active in submitting TBT notifications, representing 45% of all new notifications in 2023.
  • Use of the ePing platform for online notification submission was nearly universal, with 99.8% of all TBT notifications being submitted online, up from 65% in 2016. 
  • By the end of December 2023, just over 23,300 users had registered on the platform to benefit from features such as email alerts on notifications of interest. 
  • Members reviewed a total of 206 specific trade concerns (STCs) in 2023, including 34 new concerns. This represents a significant decline in the number of both new and previously raised STCs, which had increased steadily between 2015 and 2021. Developing members raised 76% of new STCs in 2023. 
  • Members reported progress in their discussion of nine STCs during 2023, the most in any year since 1995.  

10th Triennial Review progress

In line with the timeline adopted in June 2023, WTO members are submitting proposals under the Triennial Review of the TBT Agreement, with the aim of defining the next cycle of the Committee's work in 2025-2027. The review starts with members submitting ideas on new work for the Committee.

The second phase is to develop a set of recommendations for the new areas of work. Members are expected to finalise this review by the last Committee meeting of the year in November 2024. 

Members discussed more than 20 proposals made in the context of the 10th Triennial Review. They cover issues such as transparency, standards, technical assistance, specific trade concerns, thematic sessions and other matters related to the operation of the Committee. Other issues include mutual recognition agreements, interoperable data standards, critical and emerging technologies, beverage containers and plastic packaging, traceability for sustainable agriculture, and medical devices.  

These proposals can be consulted on the dedicated webpage for the 10th Triennial Review.

Technical assistance

In-person TBT technical assistance has picked up speed since the end of the pandemic. The WTO Secretariat gave an overview of the national and regional technical assistance delivered in 2023, and the activity already delivered or planned for 2024.


ePing's use as a tool to assist in tracking and managing TBT-related information continues to grow. Some new enhancements were announced, including easier tracking of notifications linked to trade concerns.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on 5-7 June 2024. It will be preceded by an informal meeting of the Committee dedicated to the 10th Triennial Review on 4 June.




Find out more

  • Outcomes from the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, Abu Dhabi
  • Conformity assessment procedures (CAPs) is a key area of work for the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee. CAPs are used to determine whether products fulfil the requirements established by relevant technical regulations or standards and are vital for trust in trade
  • TBT Transparency Working Group To advance work on transparency, this working group addresses the transparency-related recommendations from the Ninth Triennial Review
  • ePing contains all notifications on product requirements; allows users to register to receive email alerts and reach out to enquiry point officials. ePing also includes all trade concerns discussed in the SPS and TBT committees and official documents
  • eAgenda is where members can raise trade concerns and submit general agenda items for inclusion in the Committee meetings. Members can also upload statements prior to, during or after Committee meetings, and download statements by other members, the Chairperson and the Secretariat
  • 10th Triennial Review is underway. The TBT Committee is mandated to review the operation and implementation of the TBT Agreement on a triennial basis, giving members the opportunity to submit ideas on new work for the Committee. The 10th Triennial Review process is scheduled to be completed in November 2024

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