To become a WTO Member, Uzbekistan needs to prepare to comply with an array of trade agreements, among which the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Agreements. Both these agreements promote the use of international standards (harmonization) and the principle of equivalence in the development and application of technical and SPS measures. In implementing these measures, both agreements promote the concepts of non-discrimination and the avoidance of unnecessary obstacles to trade.
To support Uzbekistan in its path, a 2-day workshop dedicated to good practices in elaboration and implementation of technical regulations was organized in March under the EU-funded ‘Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO’ project. Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Uzstandard Agency, the State Plant Quarantine Inspection, and Ministry of Health.
Issues discussed over the course of these 2 days included difference between standards, technical regulations and SPS measures, use of standards for policy making and regulation, methods of referring to standards in technical regulations, good practices in the elaboration of technical regulations, the importance of developing a national regulatory framework, regulatory impact analysis, good practice in enforcing technical regulations and market surveillance.
Participants gained practical insights and knowledge on the essential principles, pre-requisites, procedures, and key factors that lead to effective technical regulations and market surveillance. The workshop enabled participants to understand how the WTO Agreements on TBT and SPS can be useful in the harmonization of technical regulations or SPS measures and provide a basis for regulatory cooperation among governments, thereby easing trade frictions
Based on the discussion during the workshop, recommendations were made to pursue the review of the main TBT and SPS related laws taking into consideration the knowledge gained in this workshop. ITC provided a number of supporting documents and the training materials to the counterparts for further dissemination among local stakeholders.
The above event was organized as one of a series of technical workshops aimed at supporting Uzbekistan be better equipped to handle its WTO accession process and facilitate a smooth implementation of the WTO Agreements on TBT and SPS.