Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures (STRACAP) Commitments
Non-tariff measures, which include standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures (STRACAP), are among the major obstacles to trade that regional and international organizations are trying to resolve by establishing policies among its member countries. The Philippines complies with its STRACAP commitments with these organizations through the concerted efforts by relevant governmental bodies spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS), which also serves as the country’s National Standards Body (NSB). Part of the DTI-BPS’ commitments are coordination with other national regulatory agencies and industry associations and to act as the country’s representative in various projects, programs and activities in relation to STRACAP, locally and abroad.
World Trade Organization – Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO-TBT)
One of the major roles of the DTI-BPS is to serve as the Philippines’ National Enquiry Point (NEP) and National Notification Authority (NNA), which is in compliance with the transparency provisions of the WTO-TBT Agreement.
As the NEP, the DTI-BPS is responsible for the dissemination of WTO-TBT notifications on draft technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures among various stakeholders in the country and in the submission of collected comments from stakeholders to the concerned member countries. The Bureau publishes the WTO-TBT notifications weekly through the WTO-TBT Notifications Bulletin.
As NNA, the DTI-BPS acts as the sole notifier to the WTO of the draft technical regulations and/or conformity assessment procedures by the governmental bodies in the Philippines.
The DTI-BPS also reports to the Philippines’ Technical Committee on WTO Matters (TCWM) under the Committee on Tariff and Related Matters (CTRM. The TCWM recommends to the CTRM Philippine positions and strategies relevant to the country's implementation of its WTO commitments and continuing participation in the multilateral trading system.
The DTI-BPS functions as the Philippine's lead agency to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ), which is endeavored to harmonize national standards with international standards, implement mutual recognition arrangements on conformity assessment, and develop harmonize regulatory regimes. As lead, the DTI-BPS represents the country in the programs and events of the ACCSQ Leaders on standards and conformity assessment procedures and also coordinates with other government agencies involved in the activities of the working groups (WGs) and product working groups (PWGs) under the ACCSQ. Below is the ACCSQ PH Structure:
The Bureau also serves as the focal point for the country to ASEAN plus- one- Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that have specific chapters on STRACAP such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) and ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
APEC – SCSC
Likewise, the DTI-BPS works as the lead agency for the Philippines in participating and coordinating undertakings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC). The APEC-SCSC aims to reduce the impacts that differing standards and conformance arrangements have on trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific Region through alignment of each economy’s standards with international standards. In achieving its objective of trade facilitation, the APEC-SCSC continues to work to achieve its collective action plans through promotion of good regulatory practice (GRP) in the n the preparation, adoption and application of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, and technical infrastructure development.
The Philippines through the Bureau is also participating Part 1 – Information Exchange of the APEC MRA on Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
Similarly, the Bureau engages with bilateral trade partners and fellow NSBs on STRACAP issues. The DTI-BPS’ duty is to ensure the effective implementation of existing Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) entered into by the country that fall within its mandate. The Bureau is also involved in reviewing proposed cooperation programs by trade partners under the ambit of the Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) activities.
The DTI-BPS currently implements MOUs and MRAs with ASEAN, ASTM, CEN/CENELEC, among others.