National Enquiry Point for WTO/TBT
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995 as a result of the Uruguay Round of Trade negotiations, which were held from 1986 to 1994. The negotiations were aimed at adopting rules to govern international trade by member countries. The efforts to regulate international trade started immediately after the 2nd World War, and in 1948 the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) was adopted. Later on the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations revised and updated the Agreement. The negotiations led to three Agreements; GATT 1994, the General Agreement to Trade and Services (GATS) and The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). WTO was established to oversee the implementation of these Agreements and it acts as a forum for negotiations among Members.
Members also signed other 12 associate Agreements to deal with Agriculture, Textiles, Subsidies, Anti-dumping, Technical Barriers to Trade and others. Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) is one of the GATT 1994 Associates Agreements. It addresses to matters pertaining to the preparation, adoption and application of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.
The Agreements, to which Pakistan is a signatory right from its coming into force, commits members to working towards elimination of unnecessary obstacles to international trade. They require each Member country to establish an enquiry point, which is able to respond to all reasonable enquiries from other members and interested parties. This requirement recognizes the fact that lack of information about other members' standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment and procedures can be an obstacle to international trade.