Implications: Adequacy of the Existing Approach and Prospects for the Future
AS CHAPTER 4 indicated, present international efforts to address technical barriers have several dimensions. When decentralized markets forces alone do not function adequately, standards-related problems are entrusted in the main to subsidized international standardization organizations. National standardizing and conformity assessment entities participate in these international organizations but are free to depart from the resulting international standards or procedures if they wish. The international community relies on these same entities to a limited degree in the formulation of regulatory policy and relies further on intergovernmental compacts that place constraints on the regulatory policies of individual nations, primarily those of the national government. Broader efforts at harmonization of national policy exist within Europe but not much elsewhere.
This concluding chapter explores the adequacy of the existing and proposed treatment of technical barriers in the international community and indicates where further progress might be made. It is convenient to separate the bulk of the discussion into three segments--(1) compatibility issues, (2) quality and labeling issues, and (3) additional issues relating to conformity assessment measures. The chapter concludes with a note on the developing countries.
Compatibility issues are special because many of the legal principles that can apply elsewhere are of little relevance here. It makes no