Applying ISO standards reduces technical barriers to trade and increases developing countries’ trade opportunities.

Without international standards, there would be far less international trade, far less global prosperity, far fewer markets for exporters and far less variety for consumers.

Alan Wolff
Alan Wolff
Former Deputy Director-General
World Trade Organization

International trade is a catalyst for economic development and poverty reduction. It creates jobs and prosperity, particularly in developing countries. The application of ISO standards reduces technical barriers to trade and increases trade opportunities for developing countries.

Recognizing the role of standards in achieving developmental objectives and enabling trade is a prerequisite for enhancing the uptake of ISO standards. Our projects support the use of ISO standards in developing countries. By implementing standards across the public and private sectors, these countries can capitalize on the opportunities of international trade, thus contributing to their economic growth.

We partner with...

World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure that governments and businesses benefit from the application of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)

Some 75 % of national standards bodies (NSBs) in developing countries act as national enquiry points for the TBT Agreement. Specific joint ISO/WTO training progammes are in place to ensure these NSBs carry out their role effectively so that the public and private sectors of their countries’ economies benefit from the transparency provisions of the TBT Agreement.

Thank you, ISO. It was very useful for my work to have the opportunity to ask questions directly to WTO and ISO staff. I have never had this chance before and I like it very much.

Beneficiary from Peru

International Trade Centre (ITC) to engage with the private sector, as well as trade support institutions and sector associations, in supporting the uptake of ISO standards for export success

Reaching out to the private sector, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, through joint ISO/ITC capacity building projects creates bridges with NSBs and encourages enterprises to benefit from the application of ISO standards.

ISO and Small & Medium Enterprises
ISO Standards help businesses of any size and sector reduce costs, increase productivity and access new markets.


Apply good standardization practices
Applying good standardization practices to help ISO members better serve the standardization needs of their countries.
Adopt a strategic approach to standardization
Identify and prioritize the needs of your country that can be addressed through standardization.
Standards for effective regulations
Enhancing the collaboration between standardizers and policy makers in support of good regulatory practices.
Making developing country voices count
Efficient participation of developing countries in international standardization enables a better integration in the global market.
ISO standards enable free and fair trade
Applying ISO standards reduces technical barriers to trade and increases developing countries’ trade opportunities.
Transitioning to cleaner cooking
Promoting and disseminating clean cooking standards by working in synergy with key partners.
The institutional capacity of national standards bodies in the Middle East and North Africa was strengthened and the use of sustainable development standards promoted.
Applying ISO 26000 on social responsibility in the MENA region contributed to sustainable development.