USMCA: announce progress on Technical Barriers to Trade

Mexico, United States and Canada announced progress within the framework of the USMCA Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (OTC).

In particular, the United States provided an update on the strategy review of its standards.

Canada introduced its Online Regulatory Consultation System to comply with the obligations of Chapter 11 of the USMCA regarding TBT.

For its part, Mexico presented a report of the Public Workshop Summary of the National Quality Infrastructure Law (NQIL), held on September 22, 2020.

In general, the Committee on OTC reported the results of its first meeting on October 16, 2020, in which the Parties agreed to strengthen cooperation on regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures to facilitate trade in the North America region.

Technical Barriers to Trade

According to a statement from the Ministry of Economy, Mexico reiterated its commitment to the effective implementation of this chapter of the USMCA and agreed to collaborate with its North American partners in the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In the WTO, the objective of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) is that technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures are not discriminatory or create unnecessary obstacles to trade.

At the same time, the Agreement recognizes the right of WTO Members to apply measures to achieve legitimate regulatory objectives, such as the protection of human health and safety or the protection of the environment.

The TBT Agreement strongly recommends that Members base their measures on international standards as a means of facilitating trade. The transparency provisions of the Agreement are intended to create a predictable business environment.

In general, Members/Observers use the TBT Committee to discuss specific trade concerns that generally result from notifications received, specific laws, regulations or procedures that affect trade relationships between them.