Technical regulations and standards may vary from country to country. Producers and exporters are hindered by these differences because they have to adapt their products to the market for which the goods are intended.
Standards and regulations are drawn up to protect the consumer, the flora and fauna or the environment or to inform the consumer about, for example, the composition of a product.
Standards and technical regulations can also be used to protect one's own industry against imports of the same or analogous products. They then constitute a technical barrier to trade. With the phasing out of import duties, these barriers are observed to be gaining in importance.
In order to reduce the number of technical barriers to trade, an agreement has been concluded within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) recommending the use of international standards.
Standards that do not comply with international standards must be notified to the WTO. As a result, all Member States are aware of measures (transparency) and can judge whether the proposed technical measures are reasonable. Additional information can be found on the WTO website.
Companies experiencing difficulties in this respect in third countries can make them known.
At European level, the principle of the free movement of goods applies. Nevertheless, technical standards and norms also play a role. More information.
The Federal Public Service Economy is responsible for notifying Belgian technical regulations and standards to the WTO.