Definition of the Concept ‘International Standard’ in the TBT Agreement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review


The definition of the concept ‘international standard’ in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement is of paramount importance within the World Trade Organization (WTO) general framework, because it allows a precise understanding of Articles 2.4 and 2.5 which encourage ‘harmonization’ as one of the ways to tackle the potential negative effects to trade derived from the existence of different standards. Given that the WTO is a non-standard-setting organization, the task of drafting international standards has been delegated to different standardizing bodies. The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Agreement clearly defines which bodies are entitled to issue these standards, but not the TBT Agreement. Considering this, this article focuses on the analysis of the different interpretative possibilities through which it is possible to define this concept (from a trade law perspective) and on the advantages and disadvantages of the TBT Agreement and other third parties’ approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223–1254
JournalJournal of World Trade
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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