Product Safety in the Framework of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade
in Paolo Davide Farah, Elena Cima (editors), CHINA’S INFLUENCE ON NON-TRADE CONCERNS IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW, Global Law and Sustainable Development Book Series, Routledge Publishing, ISBN 978-1-4094-4848-8. September 2016, pp. 436-448
48 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2016 Last revised: 6 Mar 2017
Date Written: October 26, 2016
This chapter discusses the basic obligations for national product safety regulations imposed by the TBT Agreement, and gives a general picture of the rules on technical standards that are applicable in the relations between China and its trading partners. The first section defines the scope of the agreement, while the second analyzes its specific requirements relevant to domestic product safety regulations. The last section concludes with some general observations on the functioning of the agreement. Due to the space limitations, this chapter should be regarded more as an introduction than a comprehensive analysis of existing legal obligations.
From the previous reasoning, it is evident that this chapter defines product safety rules quite broadly. They include provisions that aim at eliminating particular health risks – for example, by prohibiting particular chemical substances in some or all products – as well as provisions aimed at limiting their extent – for example, by setting specific thresholds for nicotine in cigarettes or by requiring certain safety devices in cars. In the second instance, a regulator may accept, for other reasons, a certain level of risk connected with the use of a product. Product safety rules also include informational requirements imposed on sellers or producers, such as various labeling obligations requiring them to disclose the composition of a product, provide instructions on its safe use, or indicate specific risks related to such use.
Keywords: WTO, International Trade Law, TBT Agreement, China, Product Safety, Technical Standards, Health, Risks, Chemical Substances, Labeling
JEL Classification: Q40, Q48, Q50, Q56, Q58, Q34, Q37, Q32, Q23, Q24, Q25, Q27, K33, K32, Q17, Q18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation