Transparency Procedures in the TBT Agreement WTO, Trade and Environment Division
WTO and Transparency “Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible” Key WTO Principle Transparency aids compliance Information assists industry
Transparency in the TBT Agreement For Technical Regulations Articles 2, 3 and 10 For Conformity Assessment Procedures Articles 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 Article 10, Annex 3: paras. J, L, M, N, O & P For Standards
Transparency in the TBT Agreement 1. Notifications 2. Publication 3. Handling of comments 4. Dissemination of information 5. Maintenance of an enquiry point 6. The TBT Committee This afternoon...
Four Types of Notifications Statement on the implementation and administration of the Agreement Draft technical regulations and CAPs, and adopted urgent measures Bilateral and multilateral agreements Adherence to, or withdrawal from, the Code of Good Practice and the existence of a work programme Members have to notify what ?
Relevant TBT Provision TBT Art. 15.2 Each Member shall, promptly after the date on which the WTO Agreement enters into force for it, inform the Committee of measures in existence or taken to ensure the implementation and administration of the Agreement
Why? Provide a quick overview of how individual Members have chosen to implement the Agreement Assist Members in meeting their obligations under the Agreement, by enabling them to take stock of their existing legislation & institutional structure
What? Relevant Laws and Regulations Publications Time allowed for comments Name & Address of Enquiry point(s) Other national authorities and agencies Measures to ensure that national and sub-national authorities provide early information on their proposals In 1995, the TBT Committee decided that the Statements should include
When? A One-Time Notification In case of change, a revision must be provided
Who? 92 Members have submitted their statements under Article 15.2
Notification of Draft Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures (CAPs), and of Adopted Urgent Measures
Why to notify? Assists industry Information Aids compliance Country B drafts a technical regulation on lighters Country A exports lighters How to know the requirements in Country B? Notification to the WTO! How to comment on them?
Relevant TBT Provisions TBT Art. 2&5 For Technical Regulations Article 2 For Conformity Assessment Procedures Article 5
What? TBT Articles Draft Technical Regulations 2.9.2 Draft Conformity Assessment Procedures 5.6.2 Technical Regulations already adopted for urgent reasons 2.10.1 Conformity Assessment Procedures already adopted for urgent reasons 5.7.1
What? And also ... TBT Articles Technical Regulations of Local governments on the level directly below that of the central government 3.2 Conformity Assessment Procedures of Local governments on the level directly below that of the central government 7.2 Except when a technical regulation or a conformity assessment procedure is “substantially the same” as a measure already notified by the central government body
What? 6 Types of Documents Must Be Notified... Draft Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures Already adopted for urgent reasons Of local governments on the level directly below that of the central government
What? Where urgent problems arise or threaten to arise…. Safety, Health Environmental Protection National Security May omit such of the steps as necessary Notification is upon adoption 2 differences Notification mentions the nature of the urgent problem
Conditions? What is it? Members must notify a measure when both sets of conditions apply AND A relevantinternational standard does not exist The measure may have a significant effect on trade of other Members OR TBT Art. 2.9 and 5.6 The measure is not in accordance with the standard
Conditions? The measure may have a significant effect on trade of other Members... The value of imports in respect of the Members concerned When assessing the significance of the effect on trade of technical regulations, such elements should be taken into consideration: The potential growth of such imports The difficulties for producers in other Members to comply with the proposed technical regulations
How? TBT 2.9.2 TBT 5.6.2 And A notification must contain A brief indication of the objective and rationale of the proposed measure Information on the products covered And Guidelines developed by the TBT Committee
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Who notifies? If a local government is involved in the technical regulation or the conformity assessment procedure, it has to be mentioned in this section
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Which agency is responsible for elaborating a proposal or promulgating a technical regulation or a conformity assessment procedure If a different agency handles comments, it must be indicated here
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form 2.9.2 Proposed TR by central body 2.10.1 Adopted TR by central body 5.6.2 Proposed CAP by central body 5 options 5.7.1 Adopted CAP by central body 3.2 Proposed/Adopted TR by local body Proposed/Adopted CAP by local body 7.2 Other 8.1 Adopted CAP by Non gov body Adopted CAP by int’al/reg’al body 9.2
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Proposed Art. 2.9.2 Technical Regulation Adopted Art. 2.10.1 Central Government Body Conformity Assessment Procedure Proposed Art. 5.6.2 Adopted Art. 5.7.1 To summarize... the following may be notified...: Proposed Art. 3.2 Technical Regulation Adopted Art. 3.2 Local Government Body Conformity Assessment Procedure Proposed Art. 7.2 Adopted Art. 7.2 Conformity Assessment Procedure Non-Governmental Body Adopted Art. 8.1 Conformity Assessment Procedure Intern’al/ regional organization Adopted Art. 9.2
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form In practice, almost all notifications are made under Articles 2.9.2 and 5.6.2: – Notifications from 1995 to 2003 (by article) –
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Clear description of the products covered in the measure (including tariff headings)
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form • Under this section, the following information is also provided: • the language(s) in which notified documents are available; and, • if a translation of the document is planned or available.
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Contains a clear description of the content of the proposed or adopted technical regulation or conformity assessment procedure
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form The “legitimate objective” of the measure may be indicated here.
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Protection of human health or safety Notifications in 2003 – Legitimate objectives stated
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form • A reference to the following documents may be provided: • the publication where a notice appears; • the proposal and basic document to which the proposal refers; • the publication in which the proposal will appear when adopted; • whenever practicable, the reference to a relevant international standard.
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form A specific and final date by which Members may submit comments. The Committee has recommended a normal time limit for comments on notifications of 60 days. Any Member which is able to provide a time limit beyond 60 days is encouraged to do so. Members are encouraged to advise of any extension to the final date for comments.
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Information on whether the text of the measure is available from the national enquiry point or from another body. Members also indicate here the exact address, where available, e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers of the body responsible for supplying the relevant documents if that body is not the enquiry point.
How? 11 Sections in a Notification Form Item 1 - Government making the notification Item 2 - Body elaborating a proposal (TR or CAP) Item 3 - Relevant provision of the Agreement Item 4 - Clear description of the product Item 5 - Title of proposal, number of pages, language. Indicate translations or summaries To summarize...
How? Guidelines of the TBT Committee Item 6 - Abstract, main features of the proposed/adopted measure Item 7 - Legitimate objective Item 8 - Any relevant document (publications). Reference to international standards Item 9 - Adoption and entry into force Item 10 - Final date for comments - normal time-limit of 60 days! Item 11 - Where to find the text of the measure To summarize...
When? TBT 2.9.2 TBT 5.6.2 And Notifications shall take place at an earlyappropriate stage, when Comments taken into account Amendments can still be introduced And TBT Committee: when a draft with the complete text is available
When? For technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures adopted for urgent reasons…. TBT 2.10.1 TBT 5.7.1 And Notifications must be made immediately upon adoption
How Many? Total number of TBT notifications, 1995-2003 By 80 Members
How Many? Notifications by Region
How Many? Notifications made by participatingMembers... 49 notifications (articles 2.9 and 5.6)
Notification of bilateral and multilateral agreements That may have a significant effect on trade With one or more countries On issues related to technical regulations, standards or CAPs Must NOTIFY it through the Secretariat TBT Art.10.7 Whenever a Member has reached an agreement
Geographical Repartition of Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements Notified
Notification of Acceptance of, or Withdrawal from, the Code of Good Practice and the Existence of a Work Programme