Communication of members on demonstrations and mutual recognition agreements under the OBT agreement. Although the TBT agreement applies to a wide range of industrial and agricultural products, health and plant health measures and procurement specifications are subject to separate agreements. The rules of the OBT agreement help distinguish between legitimate standards and technical rules and protectionist measures. Standards, technical rules and compliance assessment procedures must be developed and applied on a non-discriminatory basis, developed and applied in a transparent manner and, where appropriate, based on relevant international standards and guidelines. The CTA ensures that technical regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary trade barriers. The agreement prohibits technical requirements that are created to restrict trade, contrary to technical requirements created for legitimate purposes, such as consumer or environmental protection.  Its objective is to avoid unnecessary barriers to international trade and to recognize all WTO members in order to protect legitimate interests on the basis of their regulatory autonomy, although they encourage the application of international standards. The list of legitimate interests that may justify a trade restriction is not exhaustive and covers the protection of the environment, health and safety of people and animals.  Citizens of the parties to the dispute cannot be heard by a group of technical experts without the common agreement of the parties to the dispute, unless the group considers that the need for scientific expertise cannot be met by other means.
Government officials of the parties to the dispute are not allowed to sit in a panel of technical experts. Members of technical expert groups perform their individual duties and are not representatives of the government or representatives of an organization. Governments or organizations therefore do not instruct them on the issues in front of a group of technical experts. 6.3 Members are encouraged to be willing, at the request of other members, to enter into negotiations for mutual recognition agreements on the results of mutual compliance assessment procedures. Members may require these agreements to meet the criteria set out in paragraph 1 and to satisfy each other`s opportunities to facilitate trade in the products concerned. 10.7 When a member has reached an agreement with another country or country on issues related to technical regulations, standards or compliance assessment procedures that could have a significant impact on trade, at least one member of the agreement informs the other members, through the secretariat, of the food products covered by the agreement and a brief description of the agreement. Concerned members are invited to consult with other members on request to conclude similar agreements or to organize their participation in these agreements. The free trade agreements concluded by the United States also contain a chapter containing provisions on technical barriers to trade that must be respected in order to seek preferential treatment under the agreement. These chapters can be accessed through free trade agreements.
Introduction to WTO rules on technical barriers to trade and understanding of the OTC agreement In accordance with Article 1, this agreement applies to all industrial and agricultural products, with the exception of services, sanitary and plant health measures (as defined in the agreement on the application of sanitary and plant health measures) and «purchase specifications developed by the public authorities for production or consumption needs» (Article 1.4).  One of the objectives of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (CTA) agreement is to ensure that technical rules, product standards and «compliance assessment procedures» (testing and certification procedures) do not create unnecessary barriers to trade.