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Thematic Areas - Regulatory Cooperation

UNECE encourages rule makers to base their regulations on international standards. These provide a common denominator to the norms that apply on different markets, and reduce the need to customize and retest the products whenever they cross a national border.

In order to avoid standards becoming a barrier to international trade, national regulators must work together to specify which international standards constitute the common denominator, and how compliance with the standards should be assessed. To this end, the START Team has developed a regulatory cooperation model based on good practice. Several ongoing Sectoral Initiatives are based on Recommendation L.

Read more about best practice developed by the Working Party in this think-piece showing how regulatory cooperation can enhance regulatory coherence and help remove technical barriers to trade. The role played by the Working Party in promoting regulatory cooperation and good regulatory practice has been recognized internationally, including:

  • In the WTO compilation of sources on Good Regulatory Practice (see related presentation)
  • In the EU n the Council conclusions 1 March 2002 on standardization (2002/C 66/01)
  • and the Council conclusions 21 December 2004 on the role of European standardization (14790/2/04)

Working Party 6 and regulatory cooperation

A product’s technical features need to be in compliance with technical regulations that define safety and health requirements. Because each country has unique needs and circumstances, technical regulations could never be valid for the whole world. But different norms and different ways of applying them also means high costs! Business needs to study and understand the rules, tailor the merchandise accordingly, and fulfil complex procedures to prove compliance. We in UNECE believe that exporting a product should not be like navigating a complicated maze! This is why we support and empower countries to develop better and more convergent regulations to reduce and eliminate technical barriers to trade.

Recommendations:
UNECE recommendations promote regulatory cooperation in:

  • Metrology: In the area of metrology the Working Party actively cooperates with the International Organization of Legal Metrology to set out best practice not only in the area of metrology but also for establishing the competence of conformity assessment bodies and test laboratories, including through accreditation. Please see Recommendation K, amended at the Eighteenth session of the Working Party in 2008.
  • Standards and Norms (Recommendation L)
  • Conformity assessment (Recommendation L)
  • Market surveillance (Recommendation M)

Group of experts:
Under the auspices of the WP. 6, two groups of experts actively work to promote regulatory cooperation: