What is a technical barrier to trade?

Exporting enterprises must sometimes incur additional costs as they adapt their production to the changing legal requirements of the recipient country. Such requirements can thus create technical barriers to trade.  Discrepancies between product rules adopted by different countries can involve numerous aspects: weight, size, packaging, ingredients, mandatory labeling, shelf-life conditions, testing and certification procedures etc.

Under the TBT Agreement, there are two categories of rules which should be notified:

1. Technical regulations lay down mandatory product characteristics or their related processes and production methods. For example: requirements on product size, weight, composition, packaging, marking, labeling.

2. Conformity assessment procedures are any procedure used to determine that the relevant requirements of technical regulations or standards are fulfilled. For example: procedures for sampling, testing, inspection, evaluation, verification and assurance of conformity, registration, accreditation and approval.   

More details on the notification procedure can be found in the TBT brochure.