How are countries made aware of voluntary standards, technical regulations (TR), and conformity assessment procedures (CAP) that may affect trade?
A Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT) as per article 10 (Information about Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures) shall ensure that an Enquiry Point is established. Usually, these Enquiry Points are found within the portfolio of respective Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. The role of the Enquiry Point is to constantly comb the market for standards, TR and CAP that are being developed or developed that may pose restrictive and unnecessary measures to trade.
How can countries keep in stride with changes?
Each Member of the WTO is required to establish a Technical Barrier to Trade-Enquiry Point. The primary functions of the TBT-EP are to:
(a) Respond to all enquiries from other member countries on national technical regulation, standards and conformity assessment procedures;
(b) Respond to enquiries on the membership and participation in international and regional standardization bodies and conformity assessment system as well as in bi-lateral arrangements.
(c) Acknowledge the receipt of an enquiry;
(d) Provide relevant documents regarding technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedure and participating in regional and international standardization bodies to the requesting Member Country;
(e) Provide information on the location of notices published pursuant to the Agreement or the provision of information as to where such information can be obtained;
(f) Assist domestic industries by providing information about other Members’ standards, TR and/or CAPs;
(g) Issue alerts about new technical regulation enacted or contemplated by trading partners which may affect domestic exporter;
(h) Provide documents covered by other Members’ notification to domestic enquiries by getting these from other Members’ EPs.