The TBT Agreement

The purpose of the WTO’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) is to prevent and restrict unnecessary technical barriers to trade.

The original TBT Agreement was the result of the Tokyo Round and came into force in 1980. The TBT Agreement was renegotiated during the Uruguay Round, and a revised version came into force in 1995. In conjunction with the establishment of the WTO, the parties to the revised TBT Agreement came to encompass all the members of the WTO.

The TBT Agreement contains provisions that the Members must abide by when drawing up, adopting and implementing technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures (“technical rules”). Technical regulations can encompass requirements on product characteristics and related processes and production methods such as requirements on quality levels, performance, safety and dimensions, terminology, symbols, testing and testing methods, and packaging, marketing or labeling requirements. Conformity assessment procedures can be defined as methods to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements in technical regulations or standards.

In accordance with TBT Agreement, the TBT Secretariat must be notified of any proposals concerning new technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures that may have a significant impact on international trade, if they differ from international standards or there is a lack of international standards. New technical barriers to trade can thus be prevented by the Members at an early stage through studying and submitting comments on other Members' draft regulations. Notified regulations may not be adopted before the end of a three month long consultation period. Proposals notifiedin accordance with the TBT Agreement can be accessed in the WTO database.

According to the TBT Agreement, Members must establish one or more enquiry points which, on request, will provide other members with information and support concerning technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures.

The Swedish National Board of Trade is Sweden’s TBT Enquiry Point. The Board is also responsible for the TBT Agreement notification procedures and takes part in TBT Committee meetings.

National Board of Trade, P.O. Box 6803, SE-113 86 Stockholm. 
Visiting Address: Drottninggatan 89. 
Phone: +46 8 690 48 00     Fax: +46 8 30 67 59


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