Posted by: mulrickillion | December 14, 2011

WTO | 2011 News items – Members discuss 54 technical barriers, China’s final review and streamlined work


10 and 11 November 2011


Members discuss 54 technical barriers, China’s final review and streamlined work

Two measures on genetically modified organisms were among a dozen new concerns and over 40 older issues, including plain packaging for tobacco products, raised when WTO members met as the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee on 10-11 November 2011.

The committee also reviewed for the last time how well China has implemented the TBT Agreement since it joined the WTO in 2001. China’s membership agreement included a “Transitional Review Mechanism” requiring eight annual reviews on a range of subjects including TBT with a final one after 10 years.

And it agreed to test a proposed way to speed up its discussion on specific trade concerns. Although these are core to the committee’s responsibility of monitoring how well members are implementing the TBT Agreement, some exchanges on unresolved issues — two were raised for the 27th time in this meeting — have become repetitive, leaving less time to discuss more general subjects.

One of the proposed solutions is to allow concerns to be recorded as unresolved and still on the table without members having to speak about them if they have nothing new to say.

Some details

Specific trade concerns: overall

(Full list at the end. See also the latest comprehensive report on specific trade concerns in document G/TBT/GEN/74/Rev.9 . Full details in the TBT Information Management System.

The 54 trade concerns raised in this meeting ranged from standards and certification to labelling of tobacco products (Australia’s measures), alcoholic drinks (Thailand, Brazil, EU, Colombia, South Africa, Kenya), drinks with added caffeine (Mexico), food additives (China) and genetically modified organisms in food (Peru, EU).

The goods concerned and their effects ranged from graphics products (Argentina’s measures), wifi and other secure information technology products (China), cosmetics and pharmaceuticals (India, Turkey, Rep of Korea, EU), chemicals (EU), and various foods, drinks (including alcohol) and tobacco products (many countries’ measures), to hazardous waste and polluting products (EU, US, China) and emissions (Colombia).

Raised for a record-breaking 27th time were the EU’s Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) and Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of the Use of certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) and Directive 2002/96/EC on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

Among the common themes were: requiring certification to be made by laboratories with limited capacity in the importing country rather than by internationally recognized labs elsewhere; whether measures are justified technically, scientifically or whether they are based on international standards; the costs that measures would impose for example on small and medium enterprises; requests for updated information or notifications, particularly for measures that are being modified.

A number of countries replied that they are evaluating their proposed measures, taking comments into account. . . .

WTO | 2011 News items – Members discuss 54 technical barriers, China’s final review and streamlined work


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