Task #2: Canadian Proposal on the Different Elements of a Standard and TBT Chapter
Canada believes that the main elements of importance for dealing with technical barriers to trade are either (a) already dealt with in the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, or (b) require a broader framework of discussion and commitment than is possible in the context of the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement for the Americas.
We believe that the WTO TBT Agreement is basically focussed on controlling the illegitimate or unjustified use of government regulatory powers in a way that has an undue (more restrictive than necessary) or discriminatory impact on trade. Any significant departures from, clarifications of, or additions to these disciplines should implicate a significant majority of the members of the WTO.
As well we understand that many developing countries are experiencing difficulties at meeting the current disciplines in a timely fashion and are concerned that they be more fully involved in the activities and deliberations leading to the development and adoption of international standards.
For these reasons Canada argues that the FTAA should focus its energies on:
- implementing the WTO TBT Agreement;
- providing trade related technical assistance to the less developed members of the FTAA on matters related to international standards and conformity assessment; and
in order to have a regular dialogue and to provide a forum for discussion on regulatory issues in trade and the attendant standards issues the FTAA should establish a committee to meet approximately every other year to discuss issues related to TBT of a regional character.
A brief DRAFT Chapter that would accomplish these objectives is attached.
Having regard to the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and its Annex 1A containing the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT);
Recognizing the important contribution that international standards and conformity assessment systems can make by improving efficiency of production and facilitating the conduct of international trade;
Desiring to encourage the development of such international standards and conformity assessment systems;
Desiring however to ensure that technical regulations and standards, including packaging, marking and labelling requirements, and procedures for assessment of conformity with technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade;
Recognizing that no country should be prevented from taking measures necessary to ensure the quality of its exports, or for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health, of the environment, or for the prevention of deceptive practices, at the levels it considers appropriate, subject to the requirement that they are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where the same conditions prevail or a disguised restriction on international trade, and are otherwise in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement;
Recognizing that no country should be prevented from taking measures necessary for the protection of its essential security interest;
Recognizing the contribution which international standardization can make to the transfer of technology from developed to developing countries;
Recognizing that developing countries may encounter special difficulties in the formulation and application of technical regulations and standards and procedures for assessment of conformity with technical regulations and standards, and desiring to assist them in their endeavours in this regard;
Hereby agree as follows:
- Each Party shall make every effort to fully implement and abide by the World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade;
- In order to assist the less developed Parties to this Agreement better fulfill their commitments the more developed Parties will make all reasonable efforts to provide technical assistance;
- The Parties hereby establish a Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade which shall meet every second year to review matters related to this Chapter, including any matter falling under the scope of the subject matter of the TBT noted in Paragraph 1 above that has a particular interest to Parties to the Agreement as well as issues related to the technical assistance as provided in paragraph 2 above.