Notification procedure of the WTOThe purpose of the notification procedure laid down in the TBT (Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade) agreement of the World Trade Organization WTO is to prevent the parties to the agreement from creating unnecessary obstacles to international trade through national measures. The members of the WTO are obliged to notify all proposed technical regulations that do not comply with an international standard or that may have a significant impact on the trade of other member states. On the same principle, the notification obligation also applies to conformity assessment procedures.
Other WTO member states are given an opportunity to comment on the proposed draft technical regulation within 60 days.
Practice in Finland and in the EU
The Member States of the EU are responsible for their own notifications of technical regulations. In Finland, the responsible authority is the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, which disseminates information on the notification procedure to other authorities and forwards Finnish draft technical regulations to the WTO. The European Commission is responsible for the notification of proposed Community legislation.
Each member state of the WTO has a specific Enquiry Point. The WTO Enquiry Point in Finland is the Finnish Standards Association SFS. The SFS is responsible for keeping data files on technical regulations and for forwarding the draft technical regulations of WTO member states to authorities, industrial associations and other stakeholders for information and possible comments. SFS also answers enquiries concerning notifications.
Following the notifications from other WTO members is important, because this provides an opportunity to timely detect possible harmful consequences of the drafts for Finnish industries. In this way, enterprises may also prepare themselves for coming changes in the export market if some proposed technical regulation notified by a WTO member state seems to create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. Interested parties and stakeholders are invited to follow the draft technical regulations notified by other WTO members and, if necessary, to request the Ministry of Employment and the Economy to take action.
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (pdf) (80.6 KB)
WTO/TBT notification form (pdf) (113.9 KB)