International Standards and the WTO

32 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2005

See all articles by Steve Charnovitz

Steve Charnovitz

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: March 29, 2005


This study provides an overview of how the World Trade Organization rules relate to international standards, that is, standards propounded by some international entity. The topic of standards is a cross-cutting issue in the WTO because rules regarding international standards appear in several of the covered WTO agreements. The paper contains several parts. Part I of the paper explores the meaning of the term international standard and adopts a broad definition for analytical purposes. Part II introduces a typology for international standards. Part III discusses why international standards are important to economic development. Part IV examines some of the key WTO provisions regarding international standards. Part V looks at how WTO intergovernmental committees and bodies have implemented these provisions during the first several years of the WTO. Part VI describes some of the key standard-setting organizations that directly affect the WTO.

Keywords: International standard, WTO, Codex Alimentarius Commission, ISO, Services, trade, non-tariff barriers

JEL Classification: K23, K33, O19

Suggested Citation

Charnovitz, Steve, International Standards and the WTO (March 29, 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Steve Charnovitz (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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