TBT Learning Event on Labelling

(21-22 October 2003)

The aim of this Event is to provide Members with a better understanding of the preparation, adoption and application of labelling requirements in the context of the implementation of the TBT Agreement as well as the impact of such requirements on market access. It will also provide Members with the opportunity to draw information from a wide variety of perspectives and real life experiences (including those of consumers, industries, importers, exporters and regulators).


Speakers have been invited to include the following elements in their presentations: the nature, the coverage and the application of each of the labelling schemes, including the approaches to ensure conformity (e.g. government certification, third party certification or self-declaration) as well as the relevant implementing bodies (e.g. government authorities or private agencies). In addition, each presentation should also cover the following issues: (i) the underpinning legitimate objectives of the scheme; (ii) the criteria for choosing voluntary or, otherwise, mandatory requirements; (iii) the use of relevant international standards; (iv) the transparency procedures in the preparation processes (i.e. in compliance with the obligations under the TBT Agreement or its Annex 3, in the cases of voluntary schemes); (v) the implementation and the effectiveness of the scheme, as well as its enforcement, in case of mandatory schemes; (vi) the effects on market access (i.e. positive or negative), in particular, to exports from developing countries; (vii) whether concerns have been raised by trading partners about the potential adverse trade effects of the scheme, and how these concerns have been taken into account; (viii) the possibilities of providing relevant technical assistance and special and differential treatment to developing countries; and (ix) the possibility to accepting as equivalent technical regulations/standards of other Members.

Members, including relevant interested parties of their delegations, as well as observers of the TBT Committee have been invited to participate in the Event.






Welcoming remarks






CERFLOR, a national scheme of forest labelling oriented to the export of wooden furniture; Integrated Production of Fruits (PIF), a national labelling scheme oriented to the export of fruit; and a labelling scheme which established the national energy efficiency policy — Brazil

Speaker: Mr. Armando Mariante, President of INMETRO

Download: PowerPoint presentation 1MB

CERFLOR is a voluntary scheme related to forest management certification and chain of custody aimed at the sustainable production of forest products and identification of products that use this scheme. It was developed with the participation of non-governmental stakeholders and has been recognized by the Pan-European Forest Certification Council (PEFCC). PIF is a voluntary scheme related to fruit certification. Components of PIF are standards, conformity assessment, accreditation and third party monitoring. The recognition of PIF is being negotiated by INMETRO with the Euro Retailer Produce Working Group on Good Agricultural Practices (EurepGAP). The Brazilian Labelling Programme (BLP) is part of a voluntary energy conservation programme, which aims at informing consumers about the energy efficiency of some of the main electronic devices used in the country, through the use of informative labels that rank the products from "A" (most efficient) to "G" (least efficient). This presentation provides an overview of three labelling schemes in Brazil and insight into issues of interest to technical barriers to trade, such as conformity assessment procedures for labelling and the choice of voluntary versus mandatory labelling schemes.


Questions and Answers




FLORVERDE, Flowers in Relation to Eco-labels — Colombia

Speaker: Mr. Santiago Rojas, Former Vice Minister of Trade

Download: PowerPoint presentation 905KB

Florverde is a Colombian labelling initiative for flowers. It aims to achieve economic, social, and environmental sustainability in flower production while maintaining a competitive market position. This presentation focuses on the experience of flower growers and exporters to implement "clean" production programmes in an effort to gain and retain access to markets. It provides details on how Florverde addresses these three areas of sustainability, and the strategy used for the implementation of Florverde, touching on components such as assistance, awareness raising, benchmarking and verification. It also explores restrictions to the international flower market due to the proliferation of private environmental labels being proposed by a variety of organizations, and the importance of developing or participating in international labelling schemes (to facilitate mutual acceptance or recognition) so as to guarantee exports. Specific concerns related to eco-labelling for flowers are highlighted, such as lack of common criteria, absence of minimum parameters, conflicting requirements, lack of transparency, and inadequate information for consumers.


Questions and Answer


Discussions on Case One and Two
Moderator: Tobias Nussbaum (Canada)





Mandatory Minimum Efficiency Requirement and Voluntary Energy Label Programme — Chinese Taipei

Speaker: Dr. Fanghei Tsau, Deputy Director, Innovative Energy Technology Division, Energy and Resources Laboratories, Industrial Technology Research Institute

Download: PowerPoint presentation 6MB

Chinese Taipei has a three stage energy efficiency programme to enhance the market share of energy efficient products: (i) minimum energy efficiency mandatory regulations are established to ensure that products not meeting the prescribed requirements cannot be put in the market; (ii) voluntary energy label programmes are promoted to encourage the manufacturing of products with performance beyond the minimum energy efficiency regulations to further restrict energy consumption; and (iii) comprehensive research and development projects are implemented on energy efficiency and related technologies. This presentation focuses on the mandatory energy efficiency requirements and voluntary energy labelling programme being implemented in Chinese Taipei. The trend toward mandatory and /or voluntary regimes coordinated on a multilateral and regional scale is discussed. As well, the relationship of such initiatives to the principles of the TBT Agreement is explored, including opportunities with respect to mutual recognition agreements.


Questions and Answer




Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme and Voluntary Energy Star Programme — European Union (EU)

Speaker: Jonathan Claridge, European Commission, DG TRADE

Download: PowerPoint presentation 242KB

This presentation provides an overview of two labelling programs related to energy efficiency The EU Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme was introduced in 1995 and now covers the environmental performance of most white goods (e.g. refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and dishwashers). Labels, ranging from “A” for the most energy efficient to “G” for the least efficient, are granted. It is a mandatory labelling scheme. The EU Energy Star Programme is a voluntary labelling scheme on the energy efficiency of office equipment (e.g. computers, printers, fax machines and copiers). Registered manufacturers, assemblers, exporters, importers and retailers are invited and able to register with the European Commission allowing them to place the Energy Star label on products that meet or exceed energy-efficiency guidelines. This presentation provides the opportunity to compare voluntary and mandatory schemes put in place to achieve similar objectives.


Questions and Answer




National Energy Efficiency Standards — Australia

Speaker: Mr. Tim Yeend Minister Counsellor, Australian Mission to the WTO

Download: PowerPoint presentation 2MB

Australia’s appliance energy rating label scheme is a joint initiative of the federal, state and territory governments. The energy rating label enables consumers to compare the relative energy efficiency of domestic appliances on an objective basis when making purchasing decisions. It also provides incentive for manufacturers to improve the energy performance of their appliances. All refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers and single-phase air-conditioners must carry a mandatory energy rating label indicating relative efficiency (in the form of star ratings). This presentation explores the aims and operation of the energy rating label scheme and the place of mandatory energy efficiency labelling within an overall framework designed to achieve a “triple bottom line” of saving consumers money, enhancing trade opportunities and protecting the environment.


Questions and Answer


Discussions on Case Three, Four, and Five
Moderator: Sumanta Chaudhuri (India)





System on Labelling of Food and Non Alcoholic Beverages — Mexico

Speaker: Lic. Francisco Rosete Ramírez, Director General of Verification and Surveillance, Federal Consumers Office

Download: PowerPoint presentation 1MB

This presentation examines the process for developing technical regulations related to the labelling requirements for food and non alcoholic beverages in Mexico. Focus is given to the participation of industry in the process, the consideration of consumer protection as the legitimate objective, the related conformity assessment procedures and the need for periodic revision of the requirements.


Questions and Answers




Mandatory Labelling of Tobacco Products — Canada

Speaker: Mr. Byron Rogers, Senior Policy Analyst, Health Canada, Director-General's Office of the Federal Tobacco Program

Download: PowerPoint presentation 1MB

The requirements for most tobacco product packaging in Canada requires the display of one of sixteen graphic health warnings about risks associated with tobacco use. The regulations requiring these images became law in June 2000, making Canada the first country in the world to implement labelling measures that are on par with the risks associated with tobacco products. This presentation provides a clear picture of Canadian labelling requirements for tobacco products, and the good regulatory practices applied by Canada as it developed and implements this regulatory programme. Other components of the presentation are: the legitimate health policy objectives behind these regulations, the manner in which they were brought into force, the means by which they are enforced and how this programme considered Canadian obligations with regard to technical barriers to


Questions and Answer




Food Labelling System (Alcoholic Beverages) — China

Speaker: Mr. Jiao Yang, food labelling office, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China

Download: PowerPoint presentation 301KB

China's General Standard for the Labelling of Food (GB7718) is a basic compulsory standard by which pre-packaged food labelling must abide. It has the following characteristics: manoeuvrability; alignment with international standards; addition of some indispensable and beneficial articles; and compliance with the principles of WTO. This presentation uses the labelling of alcoholic beverages as an example to explain content and requirements of this technical regulation.


Questions and Answer


Discussions on Case six, seven and eight
Moderator: Jyoti Larke (Australia)




Nutrition Labelling of Foods — Argentina

Speaker: Mrs. María Rivera, government official in the area of Technical Barriers to Trade, Interior Trade Division, Ministry of Economy and Production

Download: PowerPoint presentation 77KB

Nutritional information on food products through the use of labels is useful and enables the consumer to obtain information on the nutritional composition of the product, which in turn should endorse/support healthier diets. Argentina considers nutritional labelling to be an effective mechanism for informing the consumer, although not the only option available. Argentinean food product exports encounter trade obstacles as a result of varying requirements for nutritional labelling from one country to another (e.g. the obligatory nature of the declaration of nutrients, the manner of expressing the nutritional information and the nutrients which must be declared). This presentation will demonstrate the market access effects of different criteria for labelling food products. Points for consideration with regard to labelling for food in a manner that does not generate trade barriers are offered, including having a scientific basis for the requirements, harmonization of requirements and use of recognized standards.


Questions and Answer




Food Labelling — the United States

Speaker: Ms. Sarah Fogarty Thorn, Director for International Trade, the Grocery Manufacturers of America

Download: PowerPoint presentation 2MB

This presentation addresses food labelling in the international marketplace. It provides an analysis of the impact of different mandatory and voluntary labelling schemes such as nutrition, organic and biotech labelling on food industry operations globally. The presentation explores the impact of these different schemes on imports and exports and the related consumer response to the requirements, and the relationship between the development of food safety standards in the Codex Alimentarius Commission and national food legislation.


Questions and Answer


Discussions on Case Nine, and Ten
Moderator: Maria Rita Fontes Faria (Brazil)