The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established by the Marrakesh Agreement in 1995, effectively assuming the role of its predecessor, The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Basically the WTO deals with the rules of trade between nations at a global level, and its key objective is to facilitate and promote international trade among its member states. Itís also a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements and settle trade disputes. To date, 153 countries are registered as WTO members at its headquarters in Geneva.
The WTO Agreements cover goods, services and intellectual property. The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) is one of the many WTO Agreements covering goods. It addresses trade matters pertaining to standards, technical regulations/rules, and conformity assessment procedures. Article 10.1 of the TBT Agreement requires that each WTO member designate a National Enquiry Point for standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.
The WTO TBT National Enquiry Point for Kenya is located at KEBS. It assumed the administration of this Enquiry Point in 1995. However, implementation of the functions of the enquiry point was only realized through the technical assistance from WTO under the JITAP in the year 1999.
The NEPís main objective is to improve Kenyaís competitiveness in the world markets.
Overall responsibility for coordination and implementation of the WTO-TBT Agreement however rests with the Ministry of Trade.