Technical barriers to trade

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The WTO launches a database of members’ declared technical barriers to trade. See Richard Baldwin’s classic article on the subject:

The main thesis of this paper has five steps: technical barriers to trade (TBTs) are important; liberalization of TBTs will continue; this liberalization will involve hegemonic harmonization or mutual recognition of rules and test; such liberalization will almost surely entail preferential arrangements among rich nations, creating in essence a two-tier system of market access with developing nations in the second tier. The final step is to conclude that the WTO should be modified to address the potentially discriminatory aspects of regional TBT liberalization initiatives. The WTO, in short, should be gearing up to “fight” the battle of frictional barrier liberalization.

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