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About Korea
TBT Enquiry Point

Introduction

> About Korea TBT Enquiry Point > Introducion

Introducion
While conventional trade barriers, such as tariffs and import volume limits, are gradually being reduced or removed, technical barriers concerning trade, including technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, are increasingly being reinforced. To ensure that the technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures each country adopted at the time the WTO was established and has applied since do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade, the WTO/TBT Agreement, which is binding for all WTO member countries, has been concluded. The TBT Agreement stipulates that international standards be used as a basis when each Member develops, adopts and applies standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures. To ensure the transparency of the system, the Agreement also stipulates that a WTO Member must notify another member through the WTO Secretariat when it revises a technical regulation or conformity assessment procedure that could lead to a critical impact on trade. In addition, it requires each WTO Member to have in place an inquiry point to provide answers to TBT-related questions from other Members and to supply relevant documents. Although three government bodies - the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (manufactured goods), Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (agricultural and marine goods), and the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs (food, drugs, cosmetics, etc.) - have in place inquiry points in Korea, a central secretariat for TBT was established within the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards based on mutual consent for the implementation of a Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, to oversee and coordinate TBT affairs in Korea and to act as a single channel for foreign communications. * TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) : Refers comprehensively to unnecessary obstacles to the free trade of goods and services created by varying technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures adopted and applied by trade partners.