Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA

 
Ministerial
Declarations
Trade Negotiations
Committee
Negotiating
Groups
Special
Committees
Business
Facilitation
Civil
Society
Trade&Tariff
Database
Hemispheric
Cooperation
Program

Home Countries Sitemap A-Z list Governmental Contact Points

 
 
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES - TRADE UNIT

PROVISIONS ON STANDARDS AND CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT IN TRADE AND INTEGRATION ARRANGEMENTS OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

SG/TU/WG.STBT/DOC.6/96/Rev.3
9 February 1998
Original: English
Limited Distribution


Part I

PROVISIONS ON STANDARDS AND TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE
IN SUBREGIONAL TRADE AND INTEGRATION ARRANGEMENTS


V. ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURES

A. Standards Committees and/or Bodies

WTO Article 13.1: A Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade is hereby established, and shall be composed of representatives from each of the Members. The Committee shall elect its own Chairman and shall meet as necessary, but no less than once a year, for the purpose of affording Members the opportunity of consulting on any matters relating to the operation of this Agreement or the furtherance of its objectives, and shall carry out such responsibilities as assigned to it under this Agreement or by the Members.
NAFTA Article 913.1: The Parties hereby establish a Committee on Standards-Related Measures, comprising representatives of each Party.

The following are the subcommittees and councils established as mandated in the Annexes to Chapter IX: Land Transportation Standards Subcommittee; Telecommunications Standards Subcommittee; Automotive Standards Council; and, Subcommittee on Labeling of Textile and Apparel Goods. In addition, there is an ad hoc Subcommittee on Labeling.

Andean Community Article 1: [The objectives of this decision shall be] to create the Andean System of Standardization, Accreditation, Testing, Certification, Technical Regulations and Metrology, which shall be governed by the provisions of this Decision and henceforth to be called the "System". (Decision 376)

Article 5: In support of the formation of the System, the Subregional Committee for Standardization, Accreditation, Testing, Certification, Technical Regulations and Metrology shall be created, henceforth to be called the "Committee". (Decision 376)

Article 6: The Committee shall be comprised of one principal representative and one alternate from each Member Country, both of whom shall be accredited before the Board by the adjoining bodies, and their function shall be governed by the provisions of Annex I. Ad Hoc committees may be formed to deal with special cases related to this Decision, and will be governed by the provisions found in Chapter III of Annex I. (Decision 376)

Article 14: The "Andean Network for Standardization" is hereby created, which shall be comprised of the National Standardization Bodies of the Member Countries. The rules governing the function of the Network shall be established by the Committee and sent to the Board for approval. (Decision 376)

Article 17: The "Andean Network of National Accreditation Bodies" is hereby created. The rules governing the function of the Network shall be established by the Committee and sent to the Board for approval. (Decision 376)

Article 20: The "Andean Network of Testing Laboratories" is hereby created, which shall be comprised of laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Bodies. The rules governing the function of the Network shall be established by the Committee and sent to the Board for approval.(Decision 376)

Article 23: The Board shall create a register of accredited certification bodies for the National Accreditation Bodies.(Decision 376)

Article 24: The "Andean Network of Accredited Certification Bodies" is hereby created. The rules governing the function of the Network shall be established by the Committee and sent to the Board for approval. (Decision 376).

Article 30: The "Andean Network for Metrology" is hereby created, which shall be comprised by institutions or organizations that perform metrological activities and by calibration laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Bodies. The rules governing the function of the

CACM  
Group of Three Article 14-17.1: The Parties hereby create a Committee on Standards-Related Measures.
MERCOSUR
  1. Resolution GMC 20/95 defines the structure of the Common Market Group within which Working Subgroup 3 exists (WSG 3) Technical Regulations.

Resolution GMC 38/95 and subsequently Resolution 61/97 may approve the operating structure of WSG 3 establishing its tasks and courses of action.

  1. Mercosur submitted a proposed Agreement to the Mercosur Standardization Committee in order to establish its linkage in preparing technical standards for Mercosur.

ALADI

Article 16: The present Agreement will be administered by an Administrative Commission made up of representatives of the signatory countries.
CARICOM Caribbean Common Market Standards Council (CCMSC)

The decision to establish the CCMSC was taken by the Common Market Council of Ministers at its eighth meeting in 1976:

Section I: "The CCMSC shall have for its object the promotion of the progressive development and harmonisation of Standards throughout the Region, in accordance with the provisions set out in Sections II (Organisation, Status and Functions of the Standards Council) and III (Operating Procedures)."

Section II: Organisation, Status and Functions of the Standards Council

II.7: "The Standards Council shall be an advisory body to the Common Market Council of Ministers".

[ Return to the Table of Contents ]

B. Scope of Activity

WTO Article 13.2: The Committee shall establish working parties or other bodies as may be appropriate, which shall carry out such responsibilities as may be assigned to them by the Committee in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Agreement.

Article 13.3: It is understood that unnecessary duplication should be avoided between the work under this Agreement and that of governments in other technical bodies. The Committee shall examine this problem with a view to minimizing such duplication.

NAFTA Article 913.2: The Committee's functions shall include:
  1. monitoring the implementation and administration of this Chapter, including the progress of the subcommittees and working groups established under paragraph 4, and the operation of the inquiry points established under Article 910;
  2. facilitating the process by which the Parties make compatible their standards-related measures;
  3. providing a forum for the Parties to consult on issues relating to standards-related measures, including the provision of technical advice and recommendations under Article 914;
  4. enhancing cooperation on the development, application and enforcement of standards-related measures; and
  5. considering non-governmental, regional and multilateral developments regarding standards-related measures, including under the GATT.

Article 913.3: The Committee shall:

  1. meet on request of any Party and, unless the Parties otherwise agree, at least once each year; and
  2. report annually to the Commission on the implementation of this Chapter.

Article 913.4: The Committee may, as it considers appropriate, establish and determine the scope and mandate of subcommittees or working groups, comprising representatives of each Party. Each subcommittee or working group may:

  1. as it considers necessary or desirable, include or consult with
    1. representatives of non-governmental bodies, including standardizing bodies;
    2. scientists; and
    3. technical experts; and
  2. determine its work program, taking into account relevant international activities.

Article 913.5: Further to 913.4, the Committee shall establish:

  1. the following subcommittees
    1. Land Transportation Standards Subcommittee, in accordance with Annex 913.5.a-1;
    2. Telecommunications Standards Subcommittee, in accordance with Annex 913.5.a-2;
    3. Automotive Standards Council, in accordance with Annex 913.5.a-3; and
    4. Subcommittee on Labeling of Textile and Apparel Goods, in accordance with Annex 913.5.a-4; and
  2. such other subcommittees or working groups as it considers appropriate to address any topic, including:
    1. identification and nomenclature for goods subject to standards-related measures,
    2. quality and identity standards and technical regulations;
    3. packaging, labeling and presentation of consumer information, including languages, measurement systems, ingredients, sizes, terminology, symbols and related matters;
    4. product approval and post-market surveillance programs;
    5. principles for the accreditation and recognition of conformity assessment bodies, procedures and systems;
    6. development and implementation of a uniform chemical hazard classification and communication system;
    7. enforcement programs, including training and inspections by regulatory, analytical and enforcement personnel;
    8. promotion and implementation of good laboratory practices;
    9. promotion and implementation of good manufacturing practices;
    10. criteria for assessment of potential environmental hazards of goods;
    11. methodologies for assessment of risk;
    12. guidelines for testing of chemicals, including industrial and agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals and biologicals;
    13. methods by which consumer protection, including matters relating to consumer redress, can be facilitated; and
    14. extension of the application of this Chapter to other services.

Article 913.6: Each Party shall, on request of another Party, take such reasonable measures as may be available to it to provide for the participation in the activities of the Committee, where and as appropriate, of representatives of state or provincial governments.

Article 913.7: A Party requesting technical advice, information or assistance pursuant to Article 911 shall notify the Committee which shall facilitate any such request.

Andean Community Article 2: The System has as its objective to facilitate intra-subregional trade through improving the quality of products and services and through the elimination of technical barriers to trade. (Decision 376)

Article 3: To achieve the objective outlined in the preceding article, the System shall:

  1. coordinate, develop and harmonize at the sub-regional level activities and services for standardization, testing, accreditation, certification, technical regulation and metrology within the priorities of the integration process;
  2. provide the technical elements that are required for the consideration or approval of technical regulations;
  3. consider aspects of security, health, environmental conservation and consumer protection in the development of its activities; and
  4. direct, at the subregional and international level, the progress of the Andean Community in this area and promote the conclusion of international agreements and treaties.

Article 4: All standardization, accreditation, testing, certification, technical regulations and metrological activities that comprise the System shall apply to all products and services that are manufactured or traded within the subregion, without consideration to phytosanitary or zoosanitary aspects, or other aspects that are found already regulated by a particular Decision. These activities are coordinated with the competent national organizations designated by law in each Member Country. (Decision 376)

Article 13: The Committee shall establish and send to the Board for its approval the procedures for harmonization, elaboration, notification, manner of registration and structure of Andean standards. (Decision 376)

Article 28: The Committee shall establish and send to the Board for its approval the procedures for harmonization, elaboration, manner for notification and prior consultation, as well as the structure and time-frame for application of national or Andean technical regulations.

CACM  
Group of Three Article 14-17.2: Among the functions that will correspond to the Committee:
  1. monitoring the implementation, compliance and administration of this Chapter, including the progress of the subcommittees and working groups established under paragraph 14-17.4, and the operation of the inquiry points established under 14-10.1;
  2. facilitating the process by which the Parties make compatible their standards-related measures;
  3. offering a forum for the Parties to consult on issues related to standards-related measures and metrology;
  4. reporting annually to the commission about the implementation of this chapter; and
  5. developing necessary procedural mechanisms for achieving recognition of conformity assessment bodies.

Article 14-17.3: The Committee:

  1. shall be comprised of an equal number of representatives from each Party;
  2. shall meet on request of any Party and, unless the Parties otherwise agree, at least once a year;
  3. shall establish its regulations; and
  4. make its decisions by consensus.

Article 14-17.4: The Committee shall, as it considers appropriate, establish and determine the scope of action and mandate of any relevant subcommittees or working groups. Each subcommittee and working group shall be comprised of representatives from each Party, and may

  1. as it considers necessary, call to participate in its meetings or consult with
    1. representatives of non-governmental bodies, including standardizing bodies, or chambers and associations of the private sector;
    2. scientists; or
    3. technical experts; and
  2. determine its work program, taking into account relevant international activities.

Article 14-17.5: Further to paragraph 14-17.4 the Committee shall establish

  1. the Subcommittee of Standards-Related Measures of Health; and
  2. any other subcommittee and working group that it considers appropriate for analyzing, among others, the following topics:
    1. the identification and nomenclature for goods subject to standards-related measures;
    2. quality and identity standards and technical regulations;
    3. packaging, labeling and presentation of consumer information, including measurement systems, ingredients, sizes, terminology, symbols and related matters;
    4. product approval and post-market surveillance programs;
    5. principles for the accreditation and recognition of test centers, inspection bodies, and conformity assessment bodies;
    6. development and implementation of a uniform classification and information system for hazardous chemicals and the communication of chemical hazards;
    7. programs to ensure fulfillment of existing provisions, including training and inspections by regulatory, analytical, and enforcement personnel;
    8. promotion and implementation of good laboratory practices;
    9. promotion and implementation of good manufacturing practices;
    10. criteria for assessment of potential environmental hazards of goods or services;
    11. analysis of procedures to simplify the importation requirements of goods and the provision of certain services;
    12. guidelines for testing of chemicals, including industrial and agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals and biologicals; and
    13. methods by which consumer protection, including matters relating to consumer redress, can be facilitated.
MERCOSUR The areas in which WSG 3 will work include:
  1. Food
  2. Health products
  3. Automobile industry
  4. Metrology
  5. Conformity assessment
  6. Electrical appliance safety

ALADI

The Administrative Commission will have, inter alia, the following responsibilities:
  1. to program regional actions planned under the present Agreement;
  2. to help coordinate subregional initiatives within this area;
  3. to help coordinate the activities carried out under technical assistance and information programs referred to in Chapter VI (Technical Assistance) and Chapter VII (Information and Dissemination), analyzing and endorsing even the advisability and viability of promoting such events as seminars and round tables;
  4. to set up working groups to consider specific topics within the scope of this Agreement;
  5. to promote the actions that are needed to make mutual recognition of conformity assessment systems viable pursuant to articles 8 and 12 of this Agreement;
  6. to promote, to the extent possible, joint positions of signatory countries at international forums concerned with technical regulations, technical standards, and conformity assessment.
CARICOM Section II: Organisation, Status and Functions of the Standards Council (Cont.)

II.7: "The functions of the Standards Council shall be to :

  1. promote the harmonisation of Standards and to recommend and coordinate the formulation and adoption of Standards for products which are of importance to intra-regional trade;
  2. review the progress of, and assist Member countries in the development of National Standards bureaux;
  3. advise on the development of regional testing facilities for evaluation of the quality and standards of products used in the Region and to advise on the suitability of regional testing facilities for the enforcement of regional standards;
  4. advise on the coordination of testing methods and quality evaluation and certification procedures among Member Countries;
  5. advise the Common Market Council on the technical significance and on the implications for intra-regional trade arising from the adoption of any proposed mandatory standard by a Member State of the Common Market;
  6. on request by the Common Market Council, investigate and make recommendations on matters involving difficulties related to standards of regionally produced goods entering into intra-regional trade;
  7. on request, determine the quality and advise on the acceptability of extra-regional products;
  8. cooperate with international organisations dealing with Standards;
  9. assist national Governments in developing, promoting and achieving standards particularly of new commodities for extra-regional exports;
  10. issue in conjunction with appropriate National Bodies information for the education of the Regionís consumers and producers on the entire question of standards in general and on the quality and acceptability of regionally produced products in particular, vis-avis imported substitutes;
  11. to recommend to the Common Market Council a common set of primary metrological standards for adoption by the Common Market members;
  12. undertake any other related function as the Council may, from time to time determine."

II.8: "The Standards Council is empowered to make recommendations only."

"The Standards Council shall submit its recommendations to the Common Market Council of Ministers or to any other body appointed by the Common Market Council for the purpose, and where appropriate, directly to the Member States."

[ Return to the Table of Contents ]

VI. COOPERATION AMONG MEMBERS OF TRADE AND INTEGRATION ARRANGEMENTS

A. Cooperation Between Member Standardizing Bodies

WTO  
NAFTA Article 911.2: Each Party shall encourage standardizing bodies in its territory to cooperate with the standardizing bodies in the territories of the other Parties in their participation, as appropriate, in standardizing activities, such as thorough membership in international standardizing bodies.
Andean Community Article 33: Member Countries may negotiate agreements among themselves when the agreements have as the objective to promote, harmonize, or achieve automatic recognition of systems, regulations, procedures, and conformity assessment mechanisms in line with the provisions of this Decision.These agreements shall be open to the participation of the rest of the Member Countries. (Decision 376)
CACM  
Group of Three  
MERCOSUR  

ALADI

Article 18. The signatory countries shall promote ongoing contacts between their specialized national and regional bodies, in order to promote and speed up the process of harmonization and ensure, to the extent possible, that the Technical Regulations, Technical Standards, or conformity assessment procedures and systems and their application will neither impede nor hinder intra-regional trade.
CARICOM  

[ Return to the Table of Contents ]

B. Technical Assistance

WTO Article 11.1: Members shall, if requested, advise other Members, especially the developing country Members, on the preparation of technical regulations.

Article 11.2: Members shall, if requested, advise other Members, especially the developing country Members, and shall grant them technical assistance on mutually agreed terms and conditions regarding the establishment of national standardizing bodies, and participation in the international standardizing bodies, and shall encourage their national standardizing bodies to do likewise.

Articles 11.3 and 11.4: Members shall, if requested, take such reasonable measures as may be available to them to arrange for the regulatory bodies within their territories to advise other Members, especially the developing country Members, and shall grant them technical assistance on mutually agreed terms and conditions regarding:

  1. the establishment of regulatory bodies, or bodies for the assessment of conformity with technical regulations (Art. 11.3) and/or standards (Art. 11.4); and
  2. the methods by which their technical regulations can best be met.

Articles 11.5 and 11.6: Members shall, if requested, advise other Members, especially the developing country Members, and shall grant them technical assistance on mutually agreed terms and conditions regarding the steps that should be taken by their producers if they wish to have access to systems for conformity assessment operated by governmental or non-governmental bodies within the territory of the Member receiving the request (Art. 11.5 and the establishment of the institutions and legal framework which would enable them to fulfil the obligations of membership or participation in such systems (Art. 11.6).

Article 11.7: Members shall, if so requested, encourage bodies within their territories which are members or participants of international or regional systems for conformity assessment to advise other Members, especially the developing country Members, and should consider requests for technical assistance from them regarding the establishment of the institutions which would enable the relevant bodies within their territories to fulfil the obligations of membership or participation.

Article 11.8: In providing advice and technical assistance to other Members in terms of paragraphs 1 to 7, Members shall give priority to the needs of the least-developed country Members.

NAFTA Article 911.1: Each Party shall, on request of another Party:
  1. provide to that Party technical advice, information and assistance on mutually agreed terms and conditions to enhance that Party's standards-related measures, and related activities, processes and systems;
  2. provide to that Party information on its technical cooperation programs regarding standards-related measures relating to specific areas of interest; and
  3. consult with that Party during the development of, or prior to the adoption or change in the application of, any standards-related measure.

Article 913.7: A Party requesting technical advice, information or assistance pursuant to Article 911 shall notify the Committee (on Standards Related Measures) which shall facilitate any such request.

Andean Community Article 34: The "Andean Training Program" is hereby established to train and capacitate human resources that will maintain the operation of the System.
CACM  
Group of Three  
MERCOSUR  

ALADI

Article 14. The signatory countries hereby agree to lend technical assistance to other signatory countries, according to the modalities and on such conditions as may be decided by mutual agreement as well as to facilitate the provision of such assistance through competent international or regional organizations for purposes of strengthening the activities relating to Technical Regulation and Standardization and with the corresponding conformity assessment by the requesting signatory countries, and their processes and systems in this area.

The principal purpose of the technical assistance will be to help the signatory countries to achieve the necessary conditions that permit them to fulfill and adhere to the provisions of this Agreement as well as its application and implementation.

There needs to be a special focus on the requirements of ALADI's Relatively Less Developed Countries so that the present Agreement as well as its application and implementation do not create unnecessary obstacles to the expansion and diversification of their exports.

CARICOM  

[ Return to the Table of Contents ]

C. Metrology

WTO  
NAFTA  
Andean Community Article 29: The Member Countries and the Board shall identify the existing metrology capabilities and promote their collaboration for the development of trade in products and services and the improvement of industrial production. (Decision 376)

Article 30: The "Andean Network of Metrology" is hereby created, which shall be comprised by institutions or organizations that perform metrological activities and by calibration laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Bodies. The rules governing the function of the Network shall be established by the committee and sent to the Board for approval. (Decision 376)

Article 31: The Member Countries shall harmonize the standards, regulations and metrological procedures at the Andean level that form the basis for the patterns and calibration systems. The harmonization procedures shall be established by the Committee and sent to the Board for its authorization. (Decision 376)

Article 32: The Member Countries shall adopt the International System of Units as the official units of measure for the Andean Sub-region. In coordination with the Board, the Member Countries shall sponsor activities for the dissemination and application of this system in all sectors of activity, public and private (Decision 376).

CACM  
Group of Three Article 14-12: The Parties shall make compatible, to the greatest extent possible, their national metrological patterns using existing international metrological patterns as a guide, whenever the national patterns comprise or appear to create unnecessary obstacles to trade.

Article 14-17.2: Among the functions that will correspond to the Committee:

  1. offering a forum for the Parties to consult on issues related to standards-related measures and metrology.
MERCOSUR Resolution GMC 61/97: Negotiating Guidelines Scientific and Industrial Metrology Commission. Item 9. Development of the process for mutual recognition of national systems for accreditation of calibration laboratories (SNALC).

ALADI

Article 13. The signatory countries undertake to adopt, for the purposes of intra-regional trade, the International System of Units.

The signatory countries undertake to establish such strategies, terms, and tools as are needed to adjust national structures to the technological change that is needed for the adoption of the International System of Units.

CARICOM  

Continue to: VII. TRANSPARENCY REQUIREMENTS


 
countries sitemap a-z list governmental contact points