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Tuesday, May 11, 2021


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Notify U.S.

Guidance on Comment Submissions by U.S. Industry on Notifications by WTO Members to the TBT Committee

HOW TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT COMMENTS

All comment submissions from U.S. businesses should be sent directly to usatbtep@nist.gov. Please include the notification symbol and title in the subject of the message and in the comments document. Each Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) operates a national Enquiry Point for the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and is authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points. Members are not obligated to and may not consider comments that are conveyed outside official Enquiry Point channels. Comments on Mexico's notifications must be submitted in English and in Spanish. Article 33 of Mexico's Federal Law on Metrology and Standardization states that comments shall be presented in Spanish and before the deadline of public consultation. See our courtesy list of fee-based translation services.


The following guidance is provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to assist U.S. industry in the preparation of comments in response to notifications of proposed foreign technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures made under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). Non-US entities who wish to submit comments on non-US notifications can submit their comments directly to the appropriate WTO Member Enquiry Point.


We thank you for your interest in Technical Barriers to Trade and suggest that U.S. industry/businesses adhere to the following guidelines to prepare and send comments to/through the USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point on notifications made by other WTO Members to the TBT Committee. If after reviewing these guidelines you have further questions about submitting comments on behalf of a U.S. business interest, or questions about the comment process, please contact the USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point using our contact information below.


Send your comments as an e-mail attachment to usatbtep@nist.gov; use of company letterhead is encouraged but not required

  • Use as the address for the comments the receiving WTO Member's national TBT Enquiry Point and/or the responsible agency (as listed in Box #2 and/or Box #11 of a regular notification; mailing addresses or regulator contact information may or may not be listed in an addendum notification — use the WTO Member's National Enquiry Point mailing and/or e-mail address if no contact information for addressing comments is included).
    • Contact information for all WTO Member national TBT Enquiry Points is accessible from the WTO TBT Information Management IMS (search Enquiry Points); select country of interest to obtain the address.
    • Complete notifications are also accessible via the WTO TBT IMS (search notification) and and ePing.
    • Include in the comments the relevant, complete notification symbol(s) (e.g., G/TBT/N/ISO Country Code/Number) and title of the notification.
    • If possible, send your comments to arrive in the USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point AT LEAST two (2) days prior to the comment deadline date, though we make every effort to process comments within 24 hours (or less) of receiving them (on business days).

Comments can include as much detail as possible, such as:

  • The title and notification symbol which they concern; notifications issued by the WTO TBT Committee are contained in WTO document series “G/TBT/N/3 digit ISO country code/#”. Refer to the section under Transparency obligations on the WTO's website here.
  • Complete contact information of the commenter and/or commenting organization, e.g., organization/company name, contact name, email, etc. (please use letterhead if possible);
  • Issue statement, e.g., the reason for submitting comments. Focus on technical aspects of the proposed regulation or regulations with which possible issues have been identified;
  • Supporting rationale statement, again focusing on technical aspects of the proposed regulation(s) or draft mandatory conformity assessment procedure(s) with which potential issues have been identified by the commenter(s).
  • Estimated trade value of exports by your organization and/or industry sector to the WTO Member.
  • Added cost for your organization and/or industry if the draft measure were to be adopted and implemented as notified.
  • Possible unintended consequences the draft measure may or will create for the regulated sector or for the market in general.
  • Suggested less restrictive or less burdensome methods of demonstrating conformity to or compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Suggested edits to the draft regulation or conformity assessment procedure to ensure the measure is no more trade restrictive than necessary, affords national treatment to imported goods, and ensures legitimate regulatory objectives are met.
  • Other suggested and/or more up-to-date international standards for the product or product sector. For further details, refer to the latest revision of the WTO document G/TBT/1, “Decisions and Recommendations Adopted by the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade”, pages 18 to 21.
  • Any questions you may have concerning the draft measure and/or unclear portions of the draft text you would expect the regulatory authority to address and/or clarify.
  • In case of a problem meeting proposed date of entry into force: If the commenter believes that compliance with the proposed regulation or conformity assessment procedure cannot or is unlikely to be achieved by the proposed date of entry into force as indicated in the notification (in Box #9), it would be helpful to include a suggested date by which compliance could be achieved. In terms of timing of entry into force of technical regulations, the phrase “reasonable interval” is understood by the TBT Committee to mean a period of not less than six months after a final regulation is published, except when this would be ineffective in fulfilling legitimate objectives. Further information is available in the latest revision of the WTO document G/TBT/1, “Decisions and Recommendations Adopted by the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade”.

After Comments Are Received by the USA TBT Enquiry Point from U.S. Interests:

  • Within 24 hours of receipt Monday through Thursday during business hours, the USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point will review comments received from US interests to make sure the basic guidance above has been followed (i.e., comments are addressed to the correct contact(s), and the WTO notification symbol is included);
  • If comments do not meet the basic guidance, our staff will follow up with the submitter / submitting organization to suggest essential updates;
  • If / once comments meet the basic guidance, our staff will transmit them to the relevant WTO Member's national TBT Enquiry Point by e-mail and follow up with the comment submitter / submitting organization to confirm the submission of comments to the other WTO Member;
  • The USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point shares with commenters / commenting organizations responses to comments provided to us by the other WTO Member's national TBT Enquiry Point or relevant authorities.

  • Please contact us if you have any remaining questions; please do not include as the intended recipient in a comments document the name and/or address of the USA TBT Enquiry Point (see above for information on addressing comments to the WTO Member)


       USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point
    Telephone    301-975-2918
    Email    usatbtep@nist.gov


  • Do NOT send/submit comments directly to the other Member's national TBT Enquiry Point.
    • Each TBT Enquiry Point is authorized to accept comments and official communications from other TBT Enquiry Points. Members are not obligated to and may not consider comments that are conveyed outside official Enquiry Point channels.
  • Do NOT list in the comments document the mailing address of the USA TBT Enquiry Point and/or name a staff person of the USA TBT Enquiry Point.


In summary:

  • Make sure to address the comments to the appropriate WTO Member national TBT Enquiry Point and/or the agency responsible as provided in the notification in Box #2 and/or Box #11. Notifications are accessible from the WTO TBT Information Management System (TBT IMS). Contact information for all national WTO Member TBT Enquiry Points is also available from the TBT IMS.

  • Please try to avoid sending your comments to the USA TBT Enquiry Point on the date listed as the final date for comments in the notification.
    • Comment due dates are assigned by the WTO Member and do not account for global time differences and/or a due date that falls on a weekend or Federal holiday.
    • We therefore request that comments are submitted two (2) business days prior to the posted comment deadline due to global time differences and the time needed for processing comments by the USA TBT Enquiry Point and by the receiving national TBT Enquiry Point.
    • Our Enquiry Point processes comments from US interests within 24 hours of receipt if received during official hours of business, 8:30am to 5pm ET Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Comments received after 3pm ET on business days and on Federal holidays may not be processed until the following business day.
    • If additional time beyond the final date for comments provided by the WTO Member is needed to prepare comments for a specific notification, please contact our office at least one week in advance of the comment deadline regarding a possible request for an extension of the comment period to the other WTO Member.


Other Considerations:

  • Comments on Mexico's notifications must be submitted in English and in Spanish. Article 33 of Mexico's Federal Law on Metrology and Standardization states that comments shall be presented in Spanish and before the deadline of public consultation. See our courtesy list of fee-based translation services.
  • If possible, send your comments to arrive in the USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point AT LEAST two (2) days prior to the comment deadline date, though we make every effort to process comments within 24 hours (or less) of receiving them.
  • If the notification includes instructions and/or a link for submitting comments online and/or directly to a regulatory authority, please contact the USA TBT Enquiry Point to ensure the submission of the comments to the WTO Member as instructed, as well as to ensure the relevant trade officials in the U.S. and in the foreign government receive a copy of the comments.
  • If comments concern a measure that was not notified to the WTO TBT Committee, or if you are unable to locate, and/or are unsure of the notification symbol, please contact the USA TBT Enquiry Point using our contact information below, before submitting comments to us. We can assist in determining the relevant notification symbol, and/or as needed, other Federal agencies with whom to share trade concerns. Foreign technical barriers to trade that have not been notified to the WTO TBT Committee can be reported to the Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance (TANC) in the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the Department of Commerce), which specializes in working with U.S. businesses to remove unfair foreign government-imposed trade barriers. Review examples of TBTs on the TANC website here; other types of barriers are listed here and report barriers to TANC here.

  •    USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point
    Telephone    301-975-2918
    Email    usatbtep@nist.gov

    Please do not include as the intended recipient in a comments document the name and/or address of the USA TBT Enquiry Point (see above for information on addressing comments to the WTO Member).


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