The World Trade Organization (WTO) registered a 68% increase in notifications of Technical Barriers to Trade in 2019 compared to 2015, to reach 3,337.
During this period, the data show an increasing trend, year by year, in this indicator.
In a push for transparency, notifications continued to rise, the WTO said, referring to one of the factors that fueled the cases. Members submitted a record 3,337 notifications of new (or modified) draft measures, compared to 3,061 in 2018, a 9 percent year-over-year rise.
The number of members who notified also increased, with 93 members submitting at least one notification.
Africa and South America were particularly active. Uganda submitted the highest number of notifications among WTO members, while Ecuador, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania and Argentina were in the top 10.
TBT notifications, 1995 to 2019
Most notifications (88%) were submitted through the WTO online portal, which allows the WTO Secretariat to publish the notifications within two days of receipt.
Also the portal also allows members to easily track the status of sent notifications and makes it easy to prepare notifications through templates.
WTO and cases
As part of these obstacles are a labeling for prepackaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages in Mexico, maximum levels of sodium (salt) in agricultural products in Colombia, toxic chemical substances in children’s products in the United States and a regulation of foreign producers of imported food in China.
The WTO’s international trade regime generally prohibits quantitative restrictions on the export of goods, whether in the form of export prohibitions, licensing requirements, or other measures that have similar restrictive effects.
Furthermore, the objective of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade is that technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures are not discriminatory or create unnecessary obstacles to trade.
But at the same time, the Agreement recognizes the right of Members to apply measures to achieve legitimate regulatory objectives, such as the protection of human health and safety or the protection of the environment.