JIS News

Under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Europe and Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) states, the parties have confirmed their commitment to the rights and obligations provisions in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
This aspect of the agreement seeks to facilitate trade between the parties, while maintaining and increasing their capacity to protect health, safety, consumers, and the environment. Additionally, it seeks to improve their capacity to identify, prevent and eliminate unnecessary obstacles to trade as a result of technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures applied by either party. Further, it is intended to increase their capacity to ensure compliance with international standards and either side’s technical regulations and standards.
In this regard, there is consensus that collaboration between national and regional authorities dealing with standardization, accreditation, and other technical barriers to trade is important. This is necessary to facilitate intra-regional trade, and trade between Europe and CARIFORUM, as well as the overall process of CARIFORUM regional integration, and undertaking co-operation to this end.
The parties have committed to implementing the transparency provisions as set out in the WTO/TBT Agreement, and endeavouring to inform each other, at an early stage, of proposals to modify or introduce technical regulations and standards relevant to trade between them.
The EPA also addresses the parties’ positions as it relates to exchanging information and consultations. Accordingly, both sides agree that, on the agreement coming into effect, designated regional contact points will be established for this purpose and that these will be utilized to the maximum extent possible.
They also agree to enhance their communication channels to accommodate an exchange of information on ways to facilitate compliance with either side’s technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures, thereby eliminating unnecessary obstacles to trade between them. Further, that consultations will be undertaken by both sides, in the event of problems arising, relevant to any of these areas, with a view to reaching a mutually agreed solution.
The agreement also specifies that the parties will inform each other in writing of measures taken or to be taken to preclude the importation of any goods to address problems related to health, safety, and the environment within reasonable time. The parties will also identify products for which information would be exchanged, with a view to collaborating to ensure that the products meet the requisite technical regulations and standards for entry into either side’s markets.
In acknowledging the importance of co-operation in the areas of technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment, the parties have agreed to undertake specific activities, subject to the provisions of Article 7 of Part I of the agreement.
These include arrangements for the sharing of expertise, inclusive of the requisite training, to ensure adequate technical competence of the relevant standard setting, market surveillance, and conformity of assessment bodies, in particular those in the CARIFORUM region. Other activities include the development of centres of expertise within CARIFORUM for the assessment of goods for export to European Community markets; development of capacity enterprises, particularly in CARIFORUM to meet regulatory and market requirements, and developing and adopting harmonized technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures based on relevant international standards.