Volume 52 (2018) / Issue 3
This article shows that, although private standards could fall within the scope of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary(SPS) or Technical Barriers to Trade(TBT) Agreement, the responsibility of WTO Members to effectively ensure that private standard-setters are not more trade-restrictive than necessary is limited under the respective frameworks. Other mechanisms, rooted in a commercial disguise, would be more effective as they could incentivize private standard-setters to comply with the WTO legal system. It is argued that WTO Members worried about the trade-restrictive nature of private standards should draft procedural guidelines in collaboration with intergovernmental organizations(IGOs) and private multi-stakeholder standard-setting bodies. Such procedural guidelines should be aimed at simplifying the certification process and making it easier for farmers and producers to comply with the private standard.
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