Facilitating Trade through Regulatory Cooperation

The Case of the WTO's TBT/SPS Agreements and Committees

The WTO plays an important role in supporting efforts to achieve international regulatory cooperation (IRC) and to facilitate trade. First, the WTO provides a multilateral framework for trade among its 164 members, with a view to ensuring that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. Second, the WTO’s Agreements provide important legal disciplines, helping to promote good regulatory practice and IRC at the domestic level as a means of reducing unnecessary barriers to trade.

This publication highlights how the WTO’s Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the work of their related Committees promote opportunities for regulatory cooperation among governments and ease trade frictions. It demonstrates how members’ notification of draft measures, harmonisation of measures with international standards, discussion of specific trade concerns and other practices help to facilitate global trade in goods. The study also makes recommendations on how to benefit further from the transparency and cooperation opportunities provided by the TBT and SPS Agreements.

English