The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) tries to ensure that regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. The Agreement takes into account the existence of legitimate divergences of taste, income, geographical and other factors between countries. For these reasons, the Agreement accords to Members a high degree of flexibility in the preparation, adoption and application of their national technical regulations.
The Preamble to the Agreement states that “no country should be prevented from taking measures necessary to ensure the quality of its exports, or for the protection of human, animal, and plant life or health, of the environment, or for the prevention of deceptive practices, at the levels it considers appropriate”. However, Members' regulatory flexibility is limited by the requirement that technical regulations “are not prepared, adopted or applied with a view to, or with the effect of, creating unnecessary obstacles to trade.”
- ↑ Article 2.2.