Technical barriers to trade chapter summary

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The protection of health, safety and the environment is accomplished through regulatory measures, such as technical regulations, standards and conformity assessments. For instance, electrical devices, such as cellphones, must conform to a standard for radiation levels in order to ensure they are safe for use. In an international trade context, measures that are discriminating or that create unnecessary obstacles to trade are referred to as “technical barriers to trade” (TBT). Trading partners negotiate commitments related to TBT in trade agreements to ensure regulations are no more restrictive of trade than necessary to meet a party’s legitimate objective.

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) TBT chapter replaces and improves upon the original NAFTA standards-related measures chapter. It also builds upon the commitments of the three parties in the existing WTO Agreement on Technical Trade Barriers, namely in the area of transparency. The chapter complements the parties’ CUSMA commitments and helps to secure the market access gains made in other parts of the Agreement. It ensures that technical regulations and standards are applied equally to products and goods originating from one of the three countries, and where differences arise, the chapter seeks to promote convergence of the respective practices, where possible, while protecting each party’s right to regulate in its own best interests.

Technical summary of negotiated outcomes: Technical barriers to trade

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