Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
Technical regulations and standards in the TBT Agreement
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 TBT Agreement makes allowance for both approaches in the way it defines technical regulations and standards.
Protection of human safety or health
The largest number of technical regulations and standards are adopted to aim at protecting human safety or health. Numerous examples can be given. National regulations that require that motor vehicles be equipped with seat belts to minimise injury in the event of road accidents, or that sockets be manufactured in a way to protect users from electric shocks, fall under the first category. A common example of regulations whose objective is the protection of human health is labelling of cigarettes to indicate that they are harmful to health.
Protection of animal and plant life or health
Regulations that protect animal and plant life or health are very common. They include regulations intended to ensure that animal or plant species endangered by water, air, and soil pollution do not become extinct. Some countries, for example, require that endangered species of fish reach a certain length before they can be caught.
Protection of the environment
Increased environmental concerns among consumers, due to rising levels of air, water and soil pollution, have led many governments to adopt regulations aimed at protecting the environment. Regulations of this type cover for example, the re-cycling of paper and plastic products, and levels of motor vehicle emissions.
Prevention of deceptive practices
Most of these regulations aim to protect consumers through information, mainly in the form of labeling requirements. Other regulations include classification and definition, packaging requirements, and measurements (size, weight, etc.), so as to avoid deceptive practices.
Other objectives of regulations are quality, technical harmonization, or simply trade facilitation. Quality regulations — e.g. those requiring that vegetables and fruits reach a certain size to be marketable — are very common in certain developed countries. Regulations aimed at harmonizing certain sectors, for example, that of telecommunications and terminal equipment, are widespread in economically integrated areas such as the GAFTA, European Union, and EFTA.
- TBT-Decision No. 11:2001 “On Approving YSMO Quality Mark for National Products” dated 9 July 2001
- TBT-Summary of Decision No. 21:2003 “On Regulating By-law of YSMO and its Branches in the Governorates”
- TBT-Draft Chairman’s Decree “On the Regulation to Set Yemeni Standards”
- TBT-Law No. 44 “On Standardization Metrology and Quality Control Organization” dated 13 October 1999
- TBT-Decision No. 27:2006 “On By-law of Granting Yemeni Quality Mark” dated 17 September 2006
- TBT-Law No. 44:1999 on Standardization, Metrology, and Quality Control
- TBT-Decision No. 2:2003 “On By-law of Evaluating Conformity of Goods and Enterprises to Accredited Metrological Standards” dated 22 February 2003
- TBT-Decision No. 3:2001 “On Issuance of Conformity Certificate to Metrological Standards By-law” dated 9 July 2001
- TBT-Chairman’s Decree No. 6:2008 “On the By-law for the Preparation of the Yemeni Standards”