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 The notification procedure.


In accordance with Articles 2.9.4 and 5.6.4 to the Agreement, Members shall "without discrimination, allow reasonable time for other Members to make comments in writing �"

The TBT Committee has recommended allowing a minimum of 60 days for comments and has encouraged the extension of this period to 90 days , to give other Members the opportunity to analyse the announced text.

As previously indicated, the announced text is not transmitted at the time of notification but the notification form indicates where the text can be found (for example on a website) or who can be contacted to obtain this. A Member interested in the notification of another Member must therefore firstly obtain the text. The possibility is not excluded of the notifying Member being able to request, for the supply of the text, reimbursement of the administrative costs linked to its transmission. It should be noted that "developed" countries must, on request, provide a translation in one of the three official languages of the WTO (French, English and Spanish) of documents covered by a specific notification or, in the case of voluminous documents, of summaries of these (Article 10.5 of the Agreement).

The TBT Committee has established that "any request for documentation should be processed if possible within five working days."In addition, "If a delay in supplying the documentation requested is foreseen, this should be acknowledged to the requester, along with an estimate of when the documents can be provided

Once the text has been received, a translation of this may need to be requested. To aid access to translations and therefore save time in analysing the text, it is recommended that the notifying Member is asked which other Members have requested the same text so that any translations which may be available can be shared on mutually agreed terms. It is also recommended that Members automatically send, on receipt of a request for documents, any summary translated in the requester's language or in a working language of the WTO.

Comments on announced texts are generally sent directly by the Member making these to the notifying Member. As things currently stand, these comments are generally not made public. Therefore, other Members are not informed of the reactions which the announced text has caused. However, comments on more sensitive notifications which are the subject of reactions from several Members are often discussed during meetings of the TBT Committee in Geneva.

In accordance with Articles 2.9.4 and 5.6.4 of the Agreement, Members shall discuss these comments upon request, and take these written comments and the results of these discussions into account.Compliance with these provisions is essential for the proper functioning of the system. The aim of the notification procedure is basically to establish a productive dialogue between Members in order to prevent the creation of unnecessary technical obstacles to international trade. Sending comments may give rise to bilateral and even multilateral discussions within the TBT Committee and the notifying Member may decide, following the receipt of comments on the announced text, to change its content. To ensure the proper functioning of the system, at the very least it would be necessary to systematically provide a response to all comments sent by other Members.

The TBT Committee has recommended that the Member receiving comments should "explain within a reasonable time to any Member from which it has received comments, how it will proceed in order to take these comments into account" and should "provide to any Member from which it has received comments, a copy of the corresponding technical regulations or procedures for assessment of conformity as adopted or information that no corresponding technical regulations or procedures for assessment of conformity will be adopted for the time being.

Adoption of an announced text.

Under Article 2.11 of the Agreement, "Members shall ensure that all technical regulations which have been adopted are published promptly or otherwise made available in such a manner as to enable interested parties in other Members to become acquainted with them." Members shall therefore be required to publish the definitive texts or otherwise make them available , but they shall not be obliged to send them to the Agreement Secretariat.

In addition, under Article 2.12 of the Agreement "� Members shall allow a reasonable interval between the publication of technical regulations and their entry into force, in order to allow time for producers in exporting Members, and particularly in developing country Members, to adapt their products or methods of production to the requirements of the importing Member. This provision is of particular importance to enterprises as it gives them time to adapt their production to the new requirements. It has been recommended that the period between the publication of a text and its entry into force should be six months.

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