Implementing Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) Standards, and Technical Regulations: The Developing Country Experience

By Tom Rotherham on March 21, 2003
As tariff levels have dropped, non-tariff or technical barriers to trade have become relatively more important for developing-country market access. Although the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) addresses these issues, experience suggests that, without certain basic institutional infrastructure, developing countries cannot benefit from the provisions in the TBT Agreement. This paper reviews developing countries' experiences implementing Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) standards and technical regulations. The paper highlights the kinds of problems that exist, discusses examples of initiatives to address these problems and suggests priorities for future work. It argues that EH&S requirements are no different from other product quality requirements: both are required for market access and both are developed and implemented within a complex institutional and legal framework.

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IISD, 2003