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A lot of folk talking about working to WTO rules not knowing what they are - with no real idea of what WTO is. So... thread!
1. The WTO is not a regulator. It's a framework founded on certain principles. You're free to regulate according to your will.
2. But as a member of the WTO, regulation must take account of the principles laid down in the WTO framework.
3. If you do not, if there are clear anti-competition issues, then complaints can be brought against you.
4. The WTO then allows for retaliatory or corrective measures.
5. The means to avoid that is to begin bilateral or multilateral talks to bring about a mutually satisfactory remedy.
6. The WTO has hard coded sector specific guidelines - but it only lays down the principles for members.
7. It recognises certain external regulatory and standards setting bodies. ISO, Codex, IPPC and OIE etc
8. The WTO TBT agreement tells members that these such rules must form the basis of their regulations.
9. But does not issue directives on how they can be implemented - the WTO has no authority there.
10. They only assume that members regulate in the spirit of WTO principles, knowing that they could otherwise face WTO action.
11. WTO is not an authority and it has no powers as such. It works on the principle of "pacta sunt servanda". "Agreements must be kept".
12. It is then down to members to implement rulings and recommendations. Far less formal than EU - but it works. Sort of.
13. The WTO will assess whether those measures adequately address the complaint.
14. If not it can then permit members to institute their own defensive measures. It's a system - not a regulator.
15. As to standards, the standards bodies the WTO recognises have done the groundwork to provide the core of a regulatory regime.
16. This is for the purposes of global harmonisation, particularly for the benefit of LDCs without the administrative/scientific capacity.
17. This is influenced by the EU and other regulatory superpowers. There are, however, multiple registered exceptions per WTO member state.
18. So there are major disparities between regimes and members. The global WTO process is geared toward removing or simplifying them.
19. Without having the EU regime, adopting only that which is commended by the WTO means, as per WTO rules, a WTO member cannot discriminate
20. However there are no WTO rules beyond the framework of principles. EU can still require registrations & create other non tariff barriers
21. That is what allows the EU to maintain defensive barriers, despite equal or similar regimes using the same basic constructs.
22. Tories believe that just matching regs and standards means you don't need a deal. They are in for a shock...
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