To this end, the agreement stipulates that technical regulations must not be more restrictive than necessary to achieve the legitimate objectives of the government. Where relevant international standards exist, the Agreement stipulates that the governments of WTO member States shall use them as a basis for their technical regulations, unless such a standard would be ineffective or inappropriate for achieving the legitimate objective of that government. (According to the TBT, a technical regulation based on an international standard is less likely to constitute a barrier to trade.) Are there no international standards or are they inappropriate (e.B. for climatic or geographical reasons or fundamental technological problems) and are likely to affect international trade, the governments of member States shall notify other WTO Members in advance of any technical regulations they intend to adopt and shall give interested parties a reasonable period of time to submit their comments through the national en-information point. The TBT National En-Information Point, located at the National Standards Institute (NIST) of the Ministry of Commerce, can request copies of the draft regulation and submit technical comments to the country of origin. A free e-mail service – Notify the United States – can alert exporters to technical regulations proposed by WTO members. 12.4 Members recognize that, although there may be international standards, guidelines or recommendations, Members from developing countries, under their particular technological and socio-economic conditions, adopt certain technical regulations, standards or conformity assessment procedures aimed at obtaining indigenous technologies and production methods and processes consistent with their development needs. Members therefore recognize that member States of developing countries should not be expected to use international standards as a basis for their technical regulations or standards, including test methods that are not adapted to their development, financial and trade needs. Recognizing the important contribution that international standards and conformity assessment systems can make in this regard by improving production efficiency and facilitating the conduct of international trade, the TBT Agreement was negotiated in the uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which was concluded in April 1994. It extended a more limited code of standards adopted in an earlier round of trade negotiations.
All WTO Members (off-site link) are parties to the TBT Agreement, which entered into force on 1 January 1995 and has no expiry date. The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) aims to ensure that regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary barriers. Governments may add any other international organization or agreement whose membership is open to all WTO Members. Each WTO Member shall inform Members without delay, after the entry into force of the Agreement, of the measures taken or taken to implement and administer the Agreement and of any subsequent amendments thereto (Article 15(2)). This written declaration shall include, inter alia, all laws, regulations, administrative orders, etc. relevant to the application of the provisions of the Agreement; the names of publications publishing final drafts and technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures; the time limit for the submission of written comments on technical regulations, standards or conformity assessment procedures; name and address of the en-information points set up in accordance with Article 10. . . . .