Thematic session on Transparency

Geneva, WTO Headquarters

At the conclusion of the Eighth Triennial Review, Members agreed to continue to hold thematic sessions in conjunction with the Committee's regular meetings, with a view to further deepening the Committee's exchange of experiences on specific topics, and to hold a session on transparency, including the Ninth Special Meeting on Procedures for Information Exchange,(1) in June 2019.(2)

At its meeting of 6-7 March 2019, the TBT Committee agreed to hold the thematic session on transparency over one and a half days, starting in the afternoon of Tuesday 18 June 2019, and to webcast the session.(3) The programme below is a compilation of proposals for topics and speakers put forth by Members, structured around some of the transparency-related recommendations of the Eighth Triennial Review.(4)

The thematic session was moderated by Mr. Sung-Hwa JANG, Chair of the TBT Committee. He delivered his Report at the WTO TBT Committee's meeting of 20-21 June 2019.

1. General Functioning of Enquiry Points

  • Update from the Secretariat on the validation of Enquiry Point contact information.(5)
  • China: The working mechanisms of China on TBT transparency, Mr. Yang Song, Director, National TBT/SPS Notification and Enquiry Center of the People's Republic of China.(6)
  • Jamaica: Practical use of Enquiry Points and online tools to address SMEs enquiries for market access information, Ms Ester Williams, Team Leader, Regional & International Trade Branch, Bureau of Standards Jamaica.(7)
  • Chinese Taipei: Practical experience of processing requests, Mr. Li-Yu Wei, Associate Technical Specialist, Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection.(8)
  • United States: How communication between Enquiry Points can be used to reduce, clarify and resolve specific trade concerns, Ms MaryAnn Hogan, United States Enquiry Point, National Institute of Standards and Technology.(9)
  • Kenya: Kenya's experience in managing notifications and comments, Ms Lucy Ikonya, National TBT Enquiry Point, Kenya Bureau of Standards.(10)

2. Tracking and reacting to members' measures and notifications

  • Accessing information on TBT measures and notifications
    • Update from the WTO Secretariat on the SPS/TBT notification alert system ePing.(11)
    • The Non-Tariff Measures Initiative: Enhancing transparency in SPS and TBT, Christian Knebel, UNCTAD. (12)
    • Global Trade Helpdesk: Single entry point for trade-related information, Mathieu Loridan, ITC.(12)
  • Australia: Increasing transparency and addressing non-tariff barriers (NTBs): Australia's experience, Lara Adams, Assistant Director, Non-Tariff Barriers Section, Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.(13)
  • European Union: The involvement of stakeholders in TBT notifications: the EU experience, Celine Zaimoglu, EU TBT enquiry point coordinator.(14)
  • Viet Nam: Viet Nam's experience in handling Members' notifications, Ms Phuong Nguyen Thi Mai, Head in charge of Notification & Enquiry Division, TBT Viet Nam Office.(15)
  • United States: Using a TBT Notification Alert System to engage the private sector in commenting on WTO Notifications: US experiences and practices, Ms MaryAnn Hogan, United States Enquiry Point, National Institute of Standards and Technology.(16)
  • United States: Engaging industry in the TBT notification process to reduce trade concerns, Ms Jamie Ferman, Senior International Trade Specialist, US Department of Commerce.(17)
  • United States: Benefit of industry using tools like Notify U.S. and ePing, Ms Francine Lamoriello, Executive Vice President Global Strategies, Personal Care Products Council (PCPC).(17)
  • Uganda: Use of ePing by the Enquiry point to disseminate and coordinate review of draft SPS and TBT measures in Uganda, George Opiyo, Uganda National Bureau of Standards.(18)
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Facilitating compliance with the TBT Agreement through the use of ePing, Ms Janelle Teemal, Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards.(19)
  • Egypt: TBT Transparency mechanism and dissemination of TBT-related information among stakeholders in Egypt, Ms Aya Abdelmonem Moussa, International Trade Policies Researcher, Central Department of World Trade Organization, Trade Agreement Sector, Ministry of Trade and Industry.(20)

3. Handling of comments, dissemination of comments and replies on a voluntary basis

  • European Union: EU practice on the dissemination of comments and substantive replies on notified measures via online tools, Ms Celine Zaimoglu, EU TBT enquiry point coordinator.(21)
  • United States: How the United States evaluates and incorporates comments received in the rulemaking process, Mr. Ravi Bharwani, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.(22)

4. Establishing whether a measure should be notified under the SPS Agreement and/or TBT Agreement(23)

  • Introduction by the Secretariat on scope of SPS and TBT Agreements and on procedural aspects regarding notification of measures that might contain relevant elements under both Agreements
  • Brazil: Brazil's experience with notifying measures that contain elements covered under both the SPS and TBT Agreements, Ms Lea Contier de Freitas, Acting Deputy Head, Office of International Affairs of the Brazilian Notification Authority and Enquiry Point to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.(24)
  • Brazil: Brazil's experience with incoming notifications of measures that contain elements covered under both the SPS and TBT Agreements, Mr. Luís Henrique Barbosa da Silva, Agricultural Attaché, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the WTO.(24)
  • Canada: Canada's experiences with regulations containing elements under both the WTO SPS and TBT Agreements, Ms Emma Pagotto, Analyst, Canadian Food Inspection Agency.(25)

5. Technical Cooperation

  • United States: Notice & Comment and cooperation on other transparency best practices: US experience on cooperation in commercial dialogues and other initiatives, Ms Sigrid Simpson, Senior International Trade Specialist, Good Regulatory Practices, US Department of Commerce.(26)
  • United States: Experience assisting with the functioning of Enquiry Points in Africa via the Standards Alliance, Ms Leslie McDermott, Director, International Development, American National Standards Institute.(26)

6. Notification and availability of adopted final texts

  • Discussion of new addendum format based on WTO Secretariat draft.(27)
  • Update from the Secretariat regarding compilation of Members' websites containing final texts of technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.(28)

7. Facilitated discussions in break-out groups(29)

  • The objective of the break out session is to facilitate a more interactive setting for delegations to exchange experiences regarding implementation of the transparency elements of the TBT Agreement and to draw on the experiences of the large number of Enquiry Points and notification authorities who will be in attendance, including from developing countries and LDCs.(30) Delegates will be invited to join one of three discussion groups. Each group will discuss a topic for about one hour, with assistance from a facilitator. The groups will then reconvene in the plenary, where the facilitators will provide a brief oral summary (5 minutes) of their groups' discussions. The Chairperson will open the floor for follow up questions and comments.
  • Topics for discussion:
    • Group 1: Notifications (Room CR1 — with interpretation)
      Facilitator: Ms Uma Muniandy (Singapore)
      How to improve the quality and completeness of notifications.
    • Group 2: Stakeholders (Room D — no interpretation)
      Facilitator: Mr. Laurence Sandral (Australia)
      How to engage stakeholders in assessing and responding to incoming notifications
    • Group 3: Communication (Room E — no interpretation)
      Facilitator: Ms Renee Hancher (United States)
      How to enhance communication between Enquiry Points across Members to reduce trade tensions.

7. Closing (in plenary)

  • The moderator will provide an oral summary of the thematic session.


  1. G/TBT/1/Rev.13, para. 5.8.1. Back to text
  2. G/TBT/41, para. 8.2.a.iv, footnote 296. Back to text
  3. Back to text
  4. Earlier versions of the programme were circulated in JOB/TBT/303, JOB/TBT/303/Rev.1 and G/TBT/GEN/264. Back to text
  5. G/TBT/41, para. 6.19.a.i. Back to text
  6. JOB/TBT/307. Back to text
  7. JOB/TBT/311. Back to text
  8. JOB/TBT/308. Back to text
  9. JOB/TBT/305. Back to text
  10. JOB/TBT/315. Back to text
  11. G/TBT/41, para. 6.19.a.ii. Back to text
  12. JOB/TBT/313. Back to text
  13. JOB/TBT/306. Back to text
  14. JOB/TBT/314. Back to text
  15. JOB/TBT/312. Back to text
  16. JOB/TBT/305. Back to text
  17. JOB/TBT/316. Back to text
  18. JOB/TBT/309. Back to text
  19. JOB/TBT/317. Back to text
  20. JOB/TBT/321. Back to text
  21. JOB/TBT/280; JOB/TBT/273/Rev.3, para. 3.1.a.; JOB/TBT/314. Back to text
  22. JOB/TBT/305. Back to text
  23. JOB/TBT/283; JOB/TBT/273/Rev.3, para. 3.1.b. Back to text
  24. JOB/TBT/283. Back to text
  25. JOB/TBT/318. Back to text
  26. JOB/TBT/305. Back to text
  27. JOB/TBT/304; JOB/TBT/320, para. 2.34-38, Annex III and IV. Back to text
  28. JOB/TBT/41, 6.19.e.iii-iv. Back to text
  29. The break-out session will not be webcast Back to text
  30. The WTO Secretariat is organizing a week-long TBT transparency workshop for Enquiry Points and notification authorities from developing countries and LDCs, which will run in parallel to the June TBT Committee meetings. Workshop participants will attend parts of the Committee meetings, including the transparency thematic session. Back to text



Problems viewing this page? If so, please contact [email protected] giving details of the operating system and web browser you are using.