Background

The U.S. has signed a new declaration on good regulatory practices with Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay. A press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative states that good regulatory practices are fundamental to transparent governance and fair trade by promoting the development of better regulations, preventing and reducing non-tariff barriers, and supporting compliance with international trade obligations.

USTR states that the new declaration builds on provisions already in place in the USMCA, the Pacific Alliance, Mercosur, and other trade agreements in the hemisphere by identifying actions and practices countries intend to take to instill confidence, accountability, and predictability in regulatory processes, including the following. Participants plan to assess progress on these actions and practices by the end of 2023.

- making regulatory information understandable and freely available online

- conducting public consultations for proposed regulatory actions in a transparent and inclusive manner, allowing adequate time for comments, and giving consideration to comments received

- giving reasonable notice of planned regulatory actions

- engaging all interested persons in the regulatory process

- making available sufficient detail about a specific regulatory action to inform those that may be affected

- basing regulatory decisions on publicly accessible high-quality data, evidence, available technical information, and an assessment of risk, where appropriate

- supporting internal coordination among central government agencies with the aim of producing better regulatory outcomes and regulations consistent with international trade obligations

- using relevant international standards, guides, and recommendations as mechanisms of good regulatory practice to avoid unnecessary obstacles to trade

- adopting or maintaining mechanisms or guidance to conduct reviews of regulations in effect to determine whether new information or other changes justify modification or repeal

- using appropriate tools to assess the need for and possible impacts of regulations

- identifying and assessing alternative approaches that can minimize economic burden, promote competitiveness, and facilitate trade

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