Text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – Chapter four: Technical barriers to trade

Article 4.1 – Scope and definitions

1. This Chapter applies to the preparation, adoption, and application of technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures that may affect trade in goods between the Parties.

2. This Chapter does not apply to:

  1. purchasing specifications prepared by a governmental body for production or consumption requirements of governmental bodies; or
  2. a sanitary or phytosanitary measure as defined in Annex A of the SPS Agreement.

3. Except where this Agreement, including the incorporated provisions of the TBT Agreement pursuant to Article 4.2, defines or gives a meaning to a term, the general terms for standardisation and conformity assessment procedures shall normally have the meaning given to them by the definition adopted within the United Nations system and by international standardising bodies taking into account their context and in the light of the object and purpose of this Chapter.

4. References in this Chapter to technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures include amendments thereto, and additions to the rules or the product coverage thereof, except amendments and additions of an insignificant nature.

5. Article 1.8.2 (Extent of obligations) does not apply to Articles 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 of the TBT Agreement, as incorporated into this Agreement.

Article 4.2 – Incorporation of the TBT Agreement

1. The following provisions of the TBT Agreement are hereby incorporated into and made part of this Agreement:

  1. Article 2 (Preparation, Adoption and Application of Technical Regulations by Central Government Bodies);
  2. Article 3 (Preparation, Adoption and Application of Technical Regulations by Local Government Bodies and Non-Governmental Bodies);
  3. Article 4 (Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards);
  4. Article 5 (Procedures for Assessment of Conformity by Central Government Bodies);
  5. Article 6 (Recognition of Conformity Assessment by Central Government Bodies), without limiting a Party's rights or obligations under the Protocol on the Mutual Acceptance of the Results of Conformity Assessment, and the Protocol on the Mutual Recognition of the Compliance and Enforcement Programme Regarding Good Manufacturing Practices for Pharmaceutical Products;
  6. Article 7 (Procedures for Assessment of Conformity by Local Government Bodies);
  7. Article 8 (Procedures for Assessment of Conformity by Non-Governmental Bodies);
  8. Article 9 (International and Regional Systems);
  9. Annex 1 (Terms and their Definitions for the Purpose of this Agreement); and
  10. Annex 3 (Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards).

2. The term "Members" in the incorporated provisions shall have the same meaning in this Agreement as it has in the TBT Agreement.

3. With respect to Articles 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 of the TBT Agreement, Chapter Twenty-Nine (Dispute Settlement) can be invoked in cases where a Party considers that the other Party has not achieved satisfactory results under these Articles and its trade interests are significantly affected. In this respect, such results shall be equivalent to those as if the body in question were a Party.

Article 4.3 – Cooperation

The Parties shall strengthen their cooperation in the areas of technical regulations, standards, metrology, conformity assessment procedures, market surveillance or monitoring and enforcement activities in order to facilitate trade between the Parties, as set out in Chapter Twenty-One (Regulatory Cooperation). This may include promoting and encouraging cooperation between the Parties' respective public or private organisations responsible for metrology, standardisation, testing, certification and accreditation, market surveillance or monitoring and enforcement activities; and, in particular, encouraging their accreditation and conformity assessment bodies to participate in cooperation arrangements that promote the acceptance of conformity assessment results.

Article 4.4 – Technical regulations

1. The Parties undertake to cooperate to the extent possible, to ensure that their technical regulations are compatible with one another. To this end, if a Party expresses an interest in developing a technical regulation equivalent or similar in scope to one that exists in or is being prepared by the other Party, that other Party shall, on request, provide to the Party, to the extent practicable, the relevant information, studies and data upon which it has relied in the preparation of its technical regulation, whether adopted or being developed. The Parties recognise that it may be necessary to clarify and agree on the scope of a specific request, and that confidential information may be withheld.

2. A Party that has prepared a technical regulation that it considers to be equivalent to a technical regulation of the other Party having compatible objective and product scope may request that the other Party recognise the technical regulation as equivalent. The Party shall make the request in writing and set out detailed reasons why the technical regulation should be considered equivalent, including reasons with respect to product scope. The Party that does not agree that the technical regulation is equivalent shall provide to the other Party, upon request, the reasons for its decision.

Article 4.5 – Conformity assessment

The Parties shall observe the Protocol on the mutual acceptance of the results of conformity assessment, and the Protocol on the mutual recognition of the compliance and enforcement programme regarding good manufacturing practices for pharmaceutical products.

Article 4.6 – Transparency

1. Each Party shall ensure that transparency procedures regarding the development of technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures allow interested persons of the Parties to participate at an early appropriate stage when amendments can still be introduced and comments taken into account, except where urgent problems of safety, health, environmental protection or national security arise or threaten to arise. Where a consultation process regarding the development of technical regulations or conformity assessment procedures is open to the public, each Party shall permit persons of the other Party to participate on terms no less favourable than those accorded to its own persons.

2. The Parties shall promote closer cooperation between the standardisation bodies located within their respective territories with a view to facilitating, among other things, the exchange of information about their respective activities, as well as the harmonisation of standards based on mutual interest and reciprocity, according to modalities to be agreed by the standardisation bodies concerned.

3. Each Party shall endeavour to allow a period of at least 60 days following its transmission to the WTO Central Registry of Notifications of proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures for the other Party to provide written comments, except where urgent problems of safety, health, environmental protection or national security arise or threaten to arise. A Party shall give positive consideration to a reasonable request to extend the comment period.

4. If a Party receives comments on its proposed technical regulation or conformity assessment procedure from the other Party, it shall reply in writing to those comments before the technical regulation or conformity assessment procedure is adopted.

5. Each Party shall publish or otherwise make publicly available, in print or electronically, its responses or a summary of its responses, to significant comments it receives, no later than the date it publishes the adopted technical regulation or conformity assessment procedure.

6. Each Party shall, upon request of the other Party, provide information regarding the objectives of, legal basis and rationale for, a technical regulation or conformity assessment procedure, that the Party has adopted or is proposing to adopt.

7. A Party shall give positive consideration to a reasonable request from the other Party, received prior to the end of the comment period following the transmission of a proposed technical regulation, to establish or extend the period of time between the adoption of the technical regulation and the day upon which it is applicable, except where the delay would be ineffective in fulfilling the legitimate objectives pursued.

8. Each Party shall ensure that its adopted technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures are publicly available on official websites.

9. If a Party detains at a port of entry a good imported from the territory of the other Party on the grounds that the good has failed to comply with a technical regulation, it shall, without undue delay, notify the importer of the reasons for the detention of the good.

Article 4.7 – Management of the Chapter

1. The Parties shall cooperate on issues covered by this Chapter. The Parties agree that the Committee on Trade in Goods, established under Article 26.2.1(a) shall:

  1. manage the implementation of this Chapter;
  2. promptly address an issue that a Party raises related to the development, adoption or application of standards, technical regulations or conformity assessment procedures;
  3. on a Party's request, facilitate discussion of the assessment of risk or hazard conducted by the other Party;
  4. encourage cooperation between the standardisation bodies and conformity assessment bodies of the Parties;
  5. exchange information on standards, technical regulations, or conformity assessment procedures including those of third parties or international bodies where there is a mutual interest in doing so;
  6. review this Chapter in the light of developments before the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade or under the TBT Agreement, and, if necessary, develop recommendations to amend this Chapter for consideration by the CETA Joint Committee;
  7. take other steps that the Parties consider will assist them to implement this Chapter and the TBT Agreement and to facilitate trade between the Parties; and
  8. report to the CETA Joint Committee on the implementation of this Chapter, as appropriate.

2. If the Parties are unable to resolve a matter covered under this Chapter through the Committee on Trade in Goods, upon request of a Party, the CETA Joint Committee may establish an ad hoc technical working group to identify solutions to facilitate trade. If a Party does not agree with a request from the other Party to establish a technical working group, it shall, on request, explain the reasons for its decision. The Parties shall lead the technical working group.

3. When a Party has requested information, the other Party shall provide the information, pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter, in print or electronically within a reasonable period of time. The Party shall endeavour to respond to each request for information within 60 days.

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