Standards as Barriers to Trade - and how technical assistance can help

Lead author: Digby Gascoine       Year: 2004       Methodology: Policy brief

ISO R&I Team Summary

This trade brief discusses the significance of technical requirements as barriers to trade taking a development perspective. It provides an overview of the situation and why it is difficult for developing countries to implement SPS/TBT measures. The author suggest that the costs of risks assessments, stringency of standards in importing countries, and even costs of conflict resolution (should an importing country's requirements not be justifiable under the agreements) can be too high for developing countries, putting unfair pressure/preventing them from fairly accessing the advantages that standards are meant to provide. The author also offers recommendations for how technical assistance can be used to assist developing and least developped countries in order to avoid standards becoming impediments to trade.


Publication Abstract

This trade brief discusses the significance of technical requirements as impediments to trade. These requirements are regulated in the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (the TBT Agreement). The disciplines applied by these Agreements can greatly assist developing countries to enhance their export opportunities. Technical assistance is necessary to meet the legitimate technical requirements, and for developing countries to operate their own regimes of sanitary and phytosanitary protection and technical regulation.


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  • Publication type:

    • Institutional publication
  • Other authors:

    • Digby Gascoine