U.S. TPP Objectives: Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

Non-tariff trade barriers, such as duplicative testing and unscientific regulations imposed on food and agricultural goods, are among the biggest challenges facing exporters across the Asia-Pacific region.  An effective regulatory program should protect the public interest – for example in health, safety, and environmental protection – and do so in a manner that is no more trade restrictive than necessary to achieve the policy goal.  The United States is therefore seeking in TPP to strengthen rules intended to eliminate unwarranted technical barriers to trade (TBT) and build upon WTO commitments in this area, and to ensure that sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) are developed and implemented in a transparent, science-based manner.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments to enhance transparency, reduce unnecessary testing and certification costs, and  promote greater openness in standards development;
  • Commitments aimed at adopting common approaches to regulatory matters related to trade in products in key sectors such as wine and distilled spirits, medical devices, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology, and food formulas;
  • New and enforceable rules to ensure that science-based SPS measures are developed and implemented in a transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory manner, while at the same time preserving the ability of U.S. and other TPP regulatory agencies to do what they deem necessary to protect food safety, and plant and animal health; and
  • Establishment of an on-going mechanism for improved dialogue and cooperation on addressing SPS and TBT issues.

Source: Objectives of the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, USTR Press Release, June 2014