Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), a category of nontariff barriers to trade, are the widely divergent measures that countries use to discriminate against imports in order to protect domestic industries but they also can be used to to regulate markets, protect their consumers, or preserve their natural resources. Technical regulations and standards set out specific characteristics of a product, such as its size, shape, design, functions and performance, or the way it is labelled or packaged before it is put on sale. In certain cases, the way a product is produced can affect these characteristics, and it may then prove more appropriate to draft technical regulations and standards in terms of a product's process and production methods rather than its characteristics per se. The World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) aims to ensure that these do not create unnecessary obstacles.

The Agreement tries to ensure that regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create trade restraints, while also providing members with the right to implement measures to achieve legitimate policy objectives, such as the protection of human health and safety, or the environment. TBT Agreement, is an international treaty administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was last renegotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), with its present form entering into force with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995.

Editor: Giovanni AVERSA

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