WTO TBT Enquiry Point
To contribute to the expansion and diversification of Philippine exports, the Philippines in 1981 acceded to the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) under the then General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT). As such the Bureau of Product Standards has been designated as the GATT/TBT Focal Enquiry Point on standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.
In January 1996, the Philippines implemented the results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiation, which included a revision of the Agreement on Technical barriers to Trade and the replacement of GATT with another institution known as the World Trade Organization as initiated by the leading signatories of GATT. Through dialogues and exchange of information on technical rules and regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, signatory countries seek transparency in their international trading transactions. The Code provides a mechanism that helps prevent the creation of technical barriers to trade. The TBT Agreement aims to facilitate trade and reduce market fragmentations by removing impediments to trade resulting from the creation of unnecessary technical barriers to trade in the form of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedure (testing, verification, inspection, certification, accreditation ).
Overall responsibility for coordination and implementation of the TBT Agreement rests with Action Team 8 - the WTO/TBT Enquiry Point and Services. As such it is responsible for the following:
- Notifying the WTO Secretariat of proposed, new or amended Philippine technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures that may significantly affect international trade
- Maintaining copies of all TBT notifications and disseminating this information to various stakeholders for their review and comments
- Preparing and/or consolidating comments in response to foreign proposed regulations and transmitting to other WTO member
- Assisting Philippine industry in preparing national position paper on standards-related issues and concerns that are considered as technical barriers to trade
- Providing a referral service and focal point for information about standards and standards-related matters
- Conducting awareness and advocacy work on the implementation of the TBT Agreement in coordination with other regulatory agencies/trade and industry associations among others
- Maintaining close coordination with regulatory agencies, industry associations among others for the fulfillment of the country's commitment to WTO
- Organizing the WTO/TBT National Coordinating Committee and providing secretariat services
- Assisting exporters in identifying and obtaining overseas standards, regulatory and testing requirements, etc. affecting their products