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11 June 1999
WTO holds symposium on conformity assessment procedures

Government delegates, regulators and representatives from conformity assessment bodies and business discussed ways to check the safety and acceptability of imported products and the impact of these practices on world trade in a Symposium on Conformity Assessment Procedures held 8-10 June at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. The Symposium was divided into four panels: relevant international guides and recommendations for conformity assessment (e.g. ISO/IEC guides); various types of conformity assessment procedures and their conditions of application; approaches with respect to the recognition of the results of conformity assessment procedures (e.g. mutual recognition agreements); and the role of international and regional systems for conformity assessment.

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The Chairman of the Symposium, Mr. Mohan Kumar (India), in concluding the symposium on 10 June, noted that the issues raised were relevant to the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade's objective that conformity assessment procedures should not create unnecessary obstacles to world trade. He said the points raised in the symposium included the following: international trade could benefit from conformity assessment procedures which are transparent, impartial and based on international standards; third party's evaluation of conformity is widely used; the possibility of using suppliers' declaration of conformity; the benefit and limitation of mutual recognition agreements; and how international and regional systems for conformity assessment can facilitate the transfer of technical know-how to developing countries.

Go to the Chairman's summary
Go to the Programme of the Symposium