Wto agreements on standards conformity assessment and their implications
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WTO AGREEMENTS ON STANDARDS & CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS. INTERNATIONAL TRADE SCENARIO. Establishment of WTO - dismantling of tariff barriers – quantitative restrictions - free flow of trade Creation of global market with equal access to all countries

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WTO AGREEMENTS ON STANDARDS & CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS

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Wto agreements on standards conformity assessment and their implications

WTO AGREEMENTS ON STANDARDS & CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS


International trade scenario

INTERNATIONAL TRADE SCENARIO

  • Establishment of WTO - dismantling of tariff barriers – quantitative restrictions - free flow of trade

  • Creation of global market with equal access to all countries

  • Tariff barriers replaced by non tariff barriers

  • Quality & safety have acquired centrestage

  • Role of Standards & Conformity Assessment (CA) procedures important

  • Represent the biggest non-tariff barriers –non-acceptance of each others’ test and inspection results – 60 % on this account

  • Necessary to lay down rules and disciplines.


Wto regime

WTO REGIME

  • Rules for international trade being written through various WTO agreements

  • Rules pertaining to Standards and Conformity Assessment laid down in

    -Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement

    - Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) Measures Agreement

    - Agreement on Pre-shipment Inspection


Common features

COMMON FEATURES

  • Encourage adoption of Intl Stds – not deemed to be barriers

  • Transparency –Opportunity to Comment to Interested Parties; procedures and systems to be public

  • Freedom to prescribe Mandatory Standards from standpoint of National security, Prevention of deceptive practices, Health, Safety & Environment

  • National treatment – Same standards for domestic and overseas Industry


Common features contd

COMMON FEATURES (contd)

  • MFN Principle – Standards to be applied equally to all countries

  • Mutual Recognition of Conformity Assessment – Certification/ Inspection/ Test Reports

  • Special and differential treatment to developing countries –provision for time limit exemptions

  • Technical assistance to developing countries

  • Dispute settlement


Tbt agreement

TBT AGREEMENT

Applies to all products incl industrial and agricultural-not to SPS measures

Voluntary standards & Technical regulations (mandatory stds)-notification to all members

Code of good practice for standards development

Product requirements in terms of performance rather than design or descriptive characteristics

Technical regulations of local governments below central govt to be similarly notified


Impact of agreement i

IMPACT OF AGREEMENT-I

Increased relevance of International Standards in trade – being not deemed to be barriers – both for products as well as systems

Members free to install import controls to protect human, animal, plant health, safety & environment

Countries implementing strong import controls


Impact of agreements ii

IMPACT OF AGREEMENTS-II

  • Conformance to International/importing countries’ mandatory standards for access to overseas markets

  • Provision for recognition of export control & certification systems of trading partners as equivalent

  • Equivalence Agreements/MoUs/MRAs

  • Legislative framework

  • Accreditation of inspection/certification bodies


Infrastructural requirements

INFRASTRUCTURAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Nodal point for participation in international stdzn- BIS

  • Domestic Regulatory Mechanism (BIS Act/Drugs/PFA)

  • Accreditation Mechanism (NABCB/NABL)

  • Information access (TBT enquiry points – BIS

  • Export certification system (EIC) for recognition

  • Conformity assessment bodies(BIS/STQC/EIAs/pvt certification/inspection bodies and labs)


Emerging structure

Emerging Structure

Government

(to enact legislation)

Regulatory Bodies – may be sector specific like Food, Drugs

(to enforce the law)

Accreditation Body

(technical competence of CABs)

Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs)

(support regulation – voluntary certification/quality assurance)

Manufacturers and Service providers

Common man – recipient of goods and services


Issues

ISSUES

  • Poor participation in int stdzn – conformity assessment stds being written in CASCO (ISO) – govern not only trade but domestic market - Lack of scientific data – no designated scientific institutions - testing technology driving safety limits – no challenge

  • Industry indifferent to standards – no tangible/ immediate financial benefits – misconception int stds only for exports – not enough consumer pressure – liability provisions weak

  • Lack of information – stds/regulations –no single body


Issues contd

ISSUES (contd)

  • Need for regulation – govt’s responsibility to common man – subtly trade reasons – many sectors unregulated contrary to worldwide trend – toys/telecom/electronic/IT goods – Import controls in Nov 2000 – even Sri Lanka did better

  • No check on CBs/Labs/IBs – anybody free to set up – foreign bodies free to operate - unethical practices – violation of international norms - credibility questionable – claims – ISO9000 on products/CE mark – no check – even enforcement of existing regulations weak


Issues contd1

ISSUES (contd)

  • Multiplicity – being hopefully addressed in food – no of govt organizations wanting to do regulation/stds setting/ certification/accreditation despite specific bodies for the purposes –when handholding (training/ consultancy) is dire need – promotional bodies getting into certification/accreditation

  • Lack of coordination/synergy within govt bodies.


Issues contd2

ISSUES (contd)

INDIA REDUCED TO A NATION CHASING COMPLIANCE

Not only not leading developments internationally but generally not even anticipating or keeping pace – we are caught unprepared whenever new standards come in


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • WTO regime – an opportunity – also a challenge

  • Standards are commerce

  • International standards – influence them – or comply – industry – conformity assessment – leverage your strengths

  • Learn to raise barriers in WTO-compliant ways


Wto agreements on standards conformity assessment and their implications

Thank you


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