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WTO TBT National Enquiry Point

Welcome to the WTO TBT National Enquiry Point of Mauritius



The WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade entered into force on 1 January 1995 as one of the agreements under Annex 1A of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) strengthened and clarified the provisions of the “Standards Code” – the original plurilateral 1979 Tokyo Round Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade governing regulations and standards.


The TBT Agreement is binding on all WTO Member States. It shares many of its fundamental principles with other WTO agreements – non-discrimination, promoting predictability of access to markets, and technical assistance and special and differential treatment for developing countries in the implementation of the Agreement. The TBT Agreement also includes features specific to the preparation and application of regulatory measures that affect trade in goods: it strongly encourages the use of international standards, and it emphasizes the need to avoid unnecessary barriers to trade.


Transparency is a cornerstone of the TBT Agreement. It is a fundamental pillar in the implementation of the TBT Agreement and a key element of Good Regulatory Practices (GRP). Transparency in the context of the TBT Agreement consists of three core elements:

  1. provisions on the notification of draft technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, as well as the “one-time” notification of each member’s organizational “set-up” for the implementation of the Agreement
  2. the establishment of national enquiry points and a notification authority
  3. publications requirements for technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures and standards


To facilitate the exchange of information, each WTO Member State is required to put in place an enquiry point that is able to answer all reasonable enquiries from other members as well as providing the relevant documents concerning standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.


WTO TBT National Enquiry Point in Mauritius

The WTO TBT National Enquiry Point (NEP) was set up in the Standards Information Centre (SIC) of MSB and was inaugurated on 8 May 1997.


The essence of its functions is to ensure applicability of the TBT notification procedure which helps avoid any potential barriers to international trade.  WTO Member States are required to “notify” other members, through the WTO Secretariat, of proposed measures that may have a significant effect on other members’ trade and that are not based on relevant international standards. This notification requirement must take place at an early, appropriate stage, when amendments can still be introduced and comments considered. Once a measure has been notified, the recommended 60-day comment period begins, during which members can request copies of the draft measure and make written comments on the measure to the notifying member. However, if for legitimate objectives pertaining to the protection of human health and environment, a regulation could not be notified at draft stage, it should be notified even after it is promulgated.


As the WTO TBT NEP, the SIC is responsible for the dissemination of information with respect to the notifications, including the associated technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, both domestic and foreign. Foreign notifications are retrieved from the WTO website and circulated to concerned parties in Mauritius for review and comments. Comments received are channeled to the countries emanating these proposals for further consideration.


The responsibilities of the National Enquiry Point may be summarized as follows:

  1. To acquire and disseminate information on all relevant notifications
  2. To facilitate the provision of full regulatory text of the notifications upon request
  3. To collect comments from stakeholders and inform the Notification Authority
  4. To channel and/or reply to all reasonable enquiries received within a specific timeframe


What is the WTO?


Introduction to the WTO TBT NEP

WTO TBT Agreement

National Technical Regulatory Framework (NTRF)