The Peter Van den Bossche/Werner Zdouc WTO law textbook says this:
A requirement that imported furniture is fire-resistant, while no such requirement exists for domestically produced furniture, would constitute a violation of the national treatment obligation set out in Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement.
That's no doubt true, but there is a more complicated issue here. The Chicago Tribune did a great series of articles on fire-resistant furniture a little while back. As a I recall it, the basic story was this. Many years ago, furniture was catching fire when people were careless with their cigarettes. In response, chemical companies worked with cigarette companies to lobby for laws that required fire-resistant furniture. The only way to meet the requirements was to douse the furniture with chemicals. The result has been that our furniture is safe from cigarettes, which fewer and fewer people smoke, but we soak ourselves in harmful chemicals whenever we sit on our furniture.
Here's my question: Are laws that require the use of chemicals to make furniture fire-resistant more trade-restrictive than necessary under TBT Article 2.2? More specifically:
-- do these laws restrict trade?
-- is their objective legitimate?
-- to what degree do they contribute to their objective?
-- what is the nature of the risks, and the consquences of not fulfilling the objective? (That is to say, the consequences of not requiring that furniture be doused with chemicals. This might be a crucial question).
-- is there a less trade restrictive alternative measure?