Last year saw record-high technical barriers to trade, with US biggest issuer of regulations

Posted on : 2024-01-15 17:58 KST Modified on : 2024-01-15 18:01 KST
A total of 4,097 technical regulations were issued by WTO members last year, with environmental conservation rising as a key objective of them
Freight containers fill a port in South Korea. (Yonhap) 
Freight containers fill a port in South Korea. (Yonhap) 

Last year saw the highest number of trade-related technical regulations around the world, with great increases in regulations put in place with the intention of conserving the environment.
The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards announced on Sunday that the number of technical regulations issued by the members of the World Trade Organization reached 4,079, in 2023, higher than the previous record of 3,966 in 2021.
WTO members are subject to the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, which requires them to make public the establishment and revision of procedures for assessment of conformity with technical regulations and standards that could have a significant impact on trade.
By sector, regulations were issued most for food and drugs (30.6%), ceramic chemistry (16.8%), and agricultural and marine products (11.7%). In particular, the number of technical regulations put in place for environment conservation was 314, showing an average annual increase of 58% over the past three years.

Fifteen key countries (top 10 export markets and five emerging economies) that make up 80% of Korea’s exports issued 1,097 (26.9%) technical regulations. The US had issued the most such regulations (454), followed by India (113), the EU (102), China (70) and Saudi Arabia (55).

US regulations were generally related to energy efficiency, while EU regulations were primarily related to permissions and restrictions on certain chemical substances. 

By Kim Hoe-seung, senior staff writer

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