Last reviewed 2 June 2020

It was recently reported that a number of international bodies worked together to collect information on trade facilitation measures that were being adopted during the coronavirus pandemic (see World bodies join to develop a COVID-19 Trade Facilitation Repository).

Following on, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) — one of the bodies involved — has highlighted the standards‐ and regulation-related policies its members have adopted in response to Covid-19.

Its report is available at: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/covid19_e/standards_report_e.pdf.

Mainly affecting trade in personal protective equipment, food, live animals, medical equipment and medicines, such standards and regulatory measures usually account for two-thirds of the notification’s members submit to the WTO. This is in line with obligations under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).

The notified measures fall under four main categories: streamlining certification procedures, ensuring safe medical goods, making food available by relaxing technical regulations, and addressing Covid-19 risks from international trade in live animals.

Positively, a range of temporary actions have been notified by WTO members to streamline certification, authorisation and other procedures for medical goods, to allow a wider range of products to enter the market faster, while still ensuring continued health and safety protection.

“An online platform — ePing — allows public and private stakeholders to quickly access the notifications so that they can adjust to the evolving market requirements for the products covered by the new measures,” the WTO explained.

ePing, tracking product requirements in export markets, can be found at: https://www.epingalert.org/en. Searches can be filtered by specific products or export markets.