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Facilitating information-sharing to avoid trade issues


A side session explores the benefits of the WTO ePing system

When trading products, governments establish requirements to accomplish policy objectives including the protection of human, animal and plant health, or protection of the environment. The World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS and TBT Agreements aim to ensure that these requirements do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. Under the WTO, Members are required to notify other Members before adopting new measures if these are likely to affect international trade and provide an opportunity for comments.

WTO Serra Ayral

Serra Ayral, Counsellor, WTO

At a side session of CAC41, Serra Ayral of WTO presented ePing, an online system enabling timely access to SPS and TBT notifications and facilitating dialogue amongst the public and private sector in addressing potential trade issues at an early stage.

“Given the high volume and diversity of SPS and TBT measures notified by WTO Members, reaching more than 4 000 in 2017, it can be a challenge for interested stakeholders to track and react to changing product requirements in a timely manner,” she said. “By registering to ePing, users can receive email alerts containing notifications of particular interest to them and also share further information on notifications,” she concluded.

Given the high volume of notifications and the diverse export interests of developing countries, it is a challenge for interested stakeholders, especially the private sector, to track and react to these notifications. A well-functioning self-subscribing alert system aims to help overcome these challenges. 

Participants were given an overview of the system, which was jointly developed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). They learned that notifications related to food products are increasing both in the SPS and in TBT area, including from developing countries.

Several members reported efficiency gains in their enquiry point’s mechanisms and in information exchange with industry groups.

For more information and to register, visit the ePing website:

Watch the webcast here.

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