Presentation on theme: "Compliance with the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and Steps Toward Developing Good Regulatory Practices Bryan O’Byrne Trade Compliance Center."— Presentation transcript:
1 Compliance with the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and Steps Toward Developing Good Regulatory PracticesBryan O’ByrneTrade Compliance CenterU.S. Department of CommerceSeptember 12, 2008
2 Today’s presentation: Overview of the core TBT Agreement commitmentsReview U. S. regulatory processesIdentify three problematic regulatory practicesDiscus developing “good regulatory practices”Introduce key U.S. mechanisms for regulatory coordination and reviewQuestions & Answers
3 The WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) ObjectivePrevent the use of technical regulations, standards, or conformity assessment as an unnecessary barrier to trade.
4 Scope of the WTO TBT Agreement Standards (voluntary): U.S. policy supports a “market-driven approach” to standards development.Technical Regulations (mandatory)Conformity Assessment Procedures: (e.g., testing, inspection, registration, accreditation, and verification)
5 Core provisions of the WTO TBT Agreement Ensure that technical regulations are not prepared, adopted, or applied with a view to or the effect of creating unnecessary obstacles to tradeProvide non-discrimination: national treatment (NT); most favored nation (MFN)Base technical regulations on relevant international standards as much as possibleFulfill legitimate regulatory objectives in a manner that is no more trade-restrictive than necessary
6 Core provisions of the WTO TBT Agreement (cont.) Transparency:Establish and maintain a national inquiry pointPublish a notice at an early appropriate stageNotify draft regulations/amendments to the WTOProvide copies of relevant documents (upon request)Allow for reasonable time for comments while amendments can be still be introducedTake written comments/discussions into account in the final regulationAllow a reasonable interval between publication and entry into force so producers may adapt
7 WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade Monitors the implementation and administration of the TBT AgreementUsually meets three times a yearProvides Members the opportunity to raise specific trade concerns in full-Committee or in informal bilateral meetings.Prepares Triennial Reviews (Committee policy recommendations) concerning the AgreementConducts workshops
8 Common TBT compliance problems No transparency in regulatory processNo publication of requirements/regulationsNo notification of proposed regulationNotified the day before or after implementationMore restrictive measure than necessaryAn alternative standard or testing requirement will facilitate trade and meet regulatory objectives
9 Other problematic regulatory practices: “Framework” regulations“One-size-fits-all” regulationsDuplicative regulations
10 U.S. Regulatory Process: (a) Notice A notice of a proposed technical regulation or conformity assessment procedure (CAP) is published in the U.S. official journal, theFederal Register.Notices are also published for significant revisions or amendments.The U.S. Government made 64 WTO notifications in 2006; 101 WTO notifications in 2007.
11 U.S. Regulatory Process: (b) Comments Comments are accepted.No restrictions on who may submit comments.Equal treatment of all comments received.Agency considers comments as it determines if and how to regulate.
12 U.S. Regulatory Process: (c) Final Rule A final technical regulation or CAP is published in the Federal Register.All significant comments received are addressed by the agency in the final regulation.
13 Steps toward “Good Regulatory Practice” (1): Specific actions Issue appropriately constructed, reviewed, and centrally coordinated regulations and CAPsPublish draft regulations; properly notify them to WTOAnticipate constructive WTO member comments and be open to possible improvements to regulations and ways to facilitate international tradeWhen requiring mandatory 3rd-party certification, accept test results regardless of the laboratory’s national domicile (i.e., avoid mandatory in-country testing)Fully consider the option not to regulate; reliance on consensus-based standards; incentives, or other less trade-restrictive mechanisms to meet objectives
14 Steps toward “Good Regulatory Practice” (2): Structural options Set pre-established general laws and rules for all ministries/agencies on “how-to-regulate”Appoint central executive body to review, coordinate, and plan regulations in compliance with the general laws and rulesCentralized coordination generally:Adds rationality to potentially political-driven demands for action to “just do something”Streamlines regulations to what is necessary and lawfulPrevents conflict between ministries/agencies
15 Key U.S. regulatory coordination and review mechanisms Under Executive Order #12866, individual federal agencies are responsible for developing regulations consistent with applicable laws and policiesThe Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as part of the Executive Office of the President (EOP), carries out the coordinated review of proposed and existing regulations and resolves potential inter-agency conflictsOMB assists the President in regulatory planningThe President may be assisted by other regulatory policy advisors in the EOP, (e.g., Office of the U.S. Trade Representative-USTR).See Executive Order #12866, as amended, Section 2 (a-c).
16 SummaryIdentified the core TBT Agreement commitments and common compliance problemsReviewed U.S. regulatory processesDiscussed three problematic regulatory practicesConsidered positive steps (specific and structural) toward developing “good regulatory practices”Introduced key U.S. regulatory coordination and review mechanismsQuestions & Answers
17 Thank You For questions, contact: Bryan O’Byrne Trade Compliance CenterU.S. Department of Commerce+1 (202)