In 1947, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed and published by a collaborative group of 23 countries working to establish smooth international trade. Thereafter, in the “GATT Uruguay Round” of 1994, consent was reached for revisions to this agreement to make clear and strengthen its responsibilities. In the same year, the “TBT Agreement” was established. Taking on the establishment of the TBT Agreement, the WTO (World Trade Organization) was established in the following year as an international organization whose goal is free trade. As a result, the TBT Agreement was integrated into the WTO Agreement, and these are expressed as the “WTO/TBT Agreement.” According to this “WTO/TBT Agreement,” member nations are required to establish standards such as compulsory standards, voluntary standards, and conformance assessment processes by integrating these standards with international standards such as the ISO and IEC standards.
By making facilities and machines conform to ISO/IEC standards, it became possible to, in general cases, make these facilities and machines conform to the technical criteria of various countries in order to increase commonality around the world and thus allow for fewer restrictions to worldwide trade. (Requirements unique to each country are also recognized, so the above is an explanation of the principle.)