Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreements comprise technical regulation standards and conformity of assessment procedures methods. The countries need technical regulations mandatory to prevent deceptive practices so that human and animal health as well as the environment can be protected. The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement aims at ensuring the technical requirements and standards including the need for packaging, marking and labeling. Under this agreement, the responsibility and right of countries to take necessary action are recognized to ensure that their legitimate objectives are met but the adopted trade measures are non-discriminatory and non-protectionist. The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement has 15 articles and three annexes. In short, it targets to meet five principles.
Principles of Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement:
Even as Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement aims to protect consumers and environment, yet a large number of the measures protect the interest of domestic producers, especially in developed countries. The advanced countries also obstruct the market access for developing countries products on the presumption that they do not meet the standard.
When tariffs for agricultural products are lowered in the developed countries, the measures become increasingly significant because such reductions affect the market share for the products of different countries. For effective compliance of TBT agreement, the following principles have to be adhered in letter and spirit. At the same time, it is required that developing countries should improve their quality standards as per the agreement.
- Non-discrimination: There should not be any discrimination with regard to the methods of preparing, adopting and applying technical regulation and conformity assessment.
- Harmonization: The countries should elaborate the codes of ‘good practice’ meet this requirement with regard to developing and using global standard.
- Least Trade Restrictive Measures: Countries should adopt such measures for avoiding unnecessary obstructions to trade.
- Equivalence: There should be equivalence in case of agreement between trading partners for adopting technical requirements on mutual recognition of conformity assessment methods.
- Transparency: There should be transparency in the adoption of all standards and regulations. Members should get time to make comment on new regulation with proper procedures to facilitate exchanges of regulations, standards and other related issues.