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On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 7:26 PM, William Ahern
<> wrote:

> There's a difference between trade barriers in the private market and
> government procurement policies.
> The aforementioned trade agreement doesn't apply to the latter, anyhow:
>         1.4 Purchasing specifications prepared by governmental bodies for
>         production or consumption requirements of governmental bodies are
>         not subject to the provisions of this Agreement

Correct. Government procurement is governed by the Agreement on
Government Procurement,
<>. Only
about 25 countries have signed on to it. Neither covers technical
services, which are the subject of another treaty now being

> Query: how the heck did this come up? I'm confused and intrigued all at the
> same time.

There was an earlier version of the present TBT Agreement, the present
version has been in effect since the early 90s. Both were later
manifestations of future-looking provisions of the General Agreement
on Trade and Tariffs ("GATT"). The so-called "Trade Agreements" have
been the primary legal tools of the globalization movement, aimed at
knocking down trade barriers among nations, leveling the competitive
playing field internationally.

The TBT Agreement takes aim at the proliferation of incompatible
technical standards and conformance assessment methods in different
countries, establishing a legal framework that encourages
consolidation of standards across national boundaries, so that a
product that meets the standards of one nation meets the standards of
others, because their standards are shared.

Presumably the TBT Agreement's minimum requirements extend to the
activities of private standard-setting activities because most
widely-adopted  standards evolve as de facto standards; i.e., the
market in effect determines what the standard is.

The TBT Agreement was largely the brain child of people organized
under the banner of the International Organization for
Standardization, ISO. There are overt remnants of their involvement,
for example in Annex 1:

"The terms presented in the sixth edition of the ISO/IEC Guide 2:
1991, General Terms and Their Definitions Concerning Standardization
and Related Activities, shall, when used in this Agreement, have the
same meaning as given in the definitions in the said Guide taking into
account that services are excluded from the coverage of this

The major teeth of the TBT Agreement are via the WTO dispute
resolution process, which enables member nations to make complaints
and seek adjudication of those complaints if a negotiated settlement
cannot be obtained. The highest adjudicative body, the WTO Appellate
Body, has authority to authorize trade sanctions against a disobedient

The culmination of the TBT Agreement's processes are formally
proclaimed *international standards* that governments throughout the
territories of member nations are required to adopt when setting
technical regulations.  In the IT context, the dive-in point for
international standard requirements is ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives, (5th
Ed., v. 3.0, 5 April 2007), <>.

I hope this is a sufficient answer. My research has not yet extended
to personalities involved in the treaties negotiation.

Best regards,