Provisions for LDCs in the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade

The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement aims to ensure that technical regulations, standards and similar measures are do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade and are not discriminatory. LDCs benefit from special consideration under the TBT Agreement with respect to technical assistance and the possibility to request temporary exceptions from obligations under the Agreement.  LDCs can be granted, upon request, time-limited exceptions from obligations under the agreement related to technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures.  As at mid-2020, no LDC member had submitted such a request.  WTO members are required to “give priority to the needs of LDCs in providing advice and technical assistance (Article 11.8) and take account of their stage of development in determining the terms and conditions of technical assistance to developing country members on the preparation of technical regulation, as outlined in Article 11 (Article 12.7).” (WTO/EIF, 2020)

Graduation does not limit access to S&D provisions in the TBT Agreement, as they apply to all developing members.  After graduation, counties would no longer enjoy the two “special considerations” for LDCs, above other developing country members (WTO/EIF, 2020).