USER GUIDE

 

June 2018

 

CONTENTS

1   Introduction..3

1.1   What is ePing?.3

1.2   What are SPS & TBT measures?. 3

1.3   What are SPS & TBT notifications?.4

1.4   What are SPS & TBT Enquiry Points?.4

1.5   What is the value added of ePing?. 4

1.6   Where does the data in ePing come from? Is it up-to-date?.5

1.7   Who should be interested in ePing?.5

2   Register on ePing..6

2.1   Choose a browser to use ePing. 6

2.2   Access ePing.6

2.3   Select your language of preference. 7

2.4   Register on ePing.7

2.4.1   Personal information: 7

2.4.2   Filter preferences: Product selection, Notification Type, Notifying Members.9

2.4.3   Email alert preferences: 10

2.4.4   Finalizing and modifying your registration:11

3   Use ePing as a regular user. 12

3.1   Receive email alerts on notifications of interest12

3.2   "Search notifications" tab overview..14

3.3   Search SPS & TBT notifications. 16

3.4   Define additional filters for your email alerts.18

3.5   Add a notification to favourites. 19

3.6   Share notifications by email with contacts.21

3.7   View/participate in discussion fora related to notifications.22

3.8   View/share files related to notifications.24

3.9   Find contact details of SPS and TBT Enquiry Points.27

4   Use ePing as an Enquiry Point. 29

4.1   Register as an Enquiry Point with administrator rights.29

4.2   Using ePing as a platform to manage national user community.30

4.2.1   View list of national users: 30

4.2.2   Send emails to national users: 31

4.2.3   Add and manage external contacts (non-ePing users)32

4.2.4   Create groups of national users and/or external contacts.34

4.2.5   Send messages to a group or members in a group.35

4.3   Manage national settings for discussion forum and file sharing.35

4.4   Participate in Enquiry Point discussion forum..36

4.5   Share files at the international level36

4.6   Clear files uploaded by national users.37

4.7   Group management rights for selected users.37

4.7.1   Grant group management rights.37

4.7.2   Management of external contacts by users with group management rights.38


 

1  Introduction

1.1  What is ePing?

1.1.  ePing, a joint initiative of the UN, WTO and ITC, is an online tool that enables private and public stakeholders to access and discuss WTO SPS/TBT notifications affecting products and market of interest in a timely manner.

1.2  What are SPS & TBT measures?

1.2.  Governments establish product requirements to achieve public policy objectives such the protection of human health or the environment. Some of these requirements fall under the WTO's Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) while others may fall under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. (TBT Agreement).

1.3.  The SPS Agreement covers sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which are defined as any measures applied:

         to protect human or animal life from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins or disease-causing organisms in their food

         to protect human life from plant- or animal-carried diseases

         to protect animal or plant life from pests, diseases, or disease-causing organisms

         to prevent or limit other damage to a country/territory from the entry, establishment or spread of pests.

1.4.  Typical examples of SPS measures include establishment of maximum residue levels for pesticides in fruits and vegetables, requirements for certain meat products to come from disease-free areas (e.g. free from foot and mouth disease) and controls to avoid the introduction of a pest (e.g. fruit fly) into a territory.

1.5.  The objectives that a WTO member may pursue under the TBT Agreement are not limited in the same way as those that fall under the SPS Agreement. For example, TBT measures can be taken to meet objectives related to national security, prevention of deceptive practices, protection of the environment, and protection of human health or safety. Typical examples of TBT measures include seat belt requirements for cars, nutrition labelling requirements for food items, specifications for fire doors, testing requirements for toys.

1.6.  Further information on the SPS Agreement and the TBT Agreement are available through the WTO website.

1.3  What are SPS & TBT notifications?

1.7.  Both the SPS and TBT Agreements aim to ensure that Members' product requirements are developed in a transparent manner and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. As part of their transparency obligations, WTO Member governments are required to notify other Members, through the WTO Secretariat, before adopting new measures if these are likely to affect international trade and if they differ from international standards. In addition, they should normally provide a 60-day period for comments from other Members and take these into account before finalizing the draft measure.

1.8.  Notifications are submitted to the WTO in predefined formats. You can find further information on SPS and TBT transparency requirements and procedures through the WTO website.

1.4  What are SPS & TBT Enquiry Points?

1.9.  Each WTO Member has an obligation to establish an SPS and a TBT Enquiry Point to answer all reasonable enquiries from other Members regarding SPS/TBT requirements. In addition, each Member is required to designate a government authority to ensure the implementation of notification requirements. In practice, many Members have designated one entity to assume all transparency-related functions, including the tracking of other Members' notifications, outreach to domestic stakeholders and formulation/submission of written comments to notifying Members.

1.10.  An enquiry point is, in essence, an institution which serves to connect Members, the private sector, trade officials, standards officials, regulators and any other domestic and international stakeholders, in all matters relating to the implementation of the transparency provisions of the TBT Agreement.

1.11.  For the sake of simplicity, the term "Enquiry Point" will be used in this guide to refer to SPS and TBT Enquiry Points as well as Notification Authorities.

1.5  What is the value added of ePing?

1.12.  Given the high volume and diversity of regulatory measures (SPS and TBT measures) notified by WTO Members, reaching more than 4,000 in 2017, it can be a challenge for interested stakeholders, especially SMEs, to track and react to changing product requirements. By registering on ePing, users can receive daily or weekly email alerts containing SPS/TBT notifications covering products/markets of interest to them. Users can also use the ePing website to search for SPS/TBT notifications meeting certain criteria. In addition, ePing can assist national enquiry points in managing and reaching out to domestic stakeholders or other Enquiry Points to discuss specific notifications and/or provide complementary information (such as translations). All these features can in turn facilitate the formulation of timely comments on notifications and/or adaptation to new requirements. WTO Members can also use the fora of the SPS or TBT Committees to raise specific trade concerns related to notifications.

Example of a scenario for using ePing:

Ana is a trader, who exports product A. Ana would like to know when the countries/territories to which she exports are planning on introducing/changing SPS or TBT regulations affecting product A.

Ana can make use of ePing through the following actions:
-	Subscribe to receive email alert messages listing notifications related to product A issued by countries/territories to which she is exporting.
-	Contact her national Enquiry Point, whose details are available on ePing, to seek further information regarding specific notifications.
-	Search SPS & TBT notifications, which affect product A and which have been circulated in the past three years (for older records, go to specialist databases SPS IMS and TBT IMS). Export results to Excel.
-	Save any particular notification of interest as a "Favourite", for ease of reference, follow-up action and setting of reminders.
-	If her country's Enquiry Point has activated the national discussion forum, view and exchange comments with other national users on notifications of interest
-	If her country's Enquiry Point has activated the file sharing function, read/add files related to a notification (such as translations into local language or an interpretation of the technical details contained in the notification).
-	Check if any comments or files have been posted on the international Enquiry Point discussion forum regarding a specific notification.
-	Share notifications of interest with others via ePing

 

1.13.  Awareness of regulatory trends in other markets can also assist regulators as they in turn develop measures to address similar policy objectives. Ultimately, ePing aims to assist public and private sector stakeholders, including SMEs, in benefitting from the SPS/TBT transparency framework of the WTO, facilitate trade and avoid unnecessary trade disruptions.

1.6  Where does the data in ePing come from? Is it up-to-date?

1.14.  The ePing database is fed directly by the WTO SPS and TBT Information Management Systems (SPS IMS and TBT IMS). It is updated on a daily basis and contains all SPS and TBT notifications circulated in the last three years. If you are looking for older notifications, you can consult the SPS IMS and TBT IMS , which include all SPS and TBT notifications notified by Members since 1995.

1.7  Who should be interested in ePing?

1.15.  ePing is of potential interest to all types of stakeholders, including government agencies, standardizing bodies, producers, exporters, importers, service providers, small and medium-size enterprises, multinationals, international organizations, research institutes, NGOs etc.


 

2  Register on ePing

2.1  Choose a browser to use ePing

2.1.  To make sure all ePing features function properly, please use one of the following recommended browsers: Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version), or Internet Explorer 11. Please note that the ePing website is not touch screen compatible.

2.2  Access ePing

2.2.  Open a supported browser and navigate to: http://www.epingalert.org/. This will open the ePing homepage in the browser window. While navigating the website, you can always access the homepage by clicking on the ePing logo on the top left of the screen.

 

2.3.  Users of the ePing alert system can use the site as registered or unregistered users. Unregistered users can browse the ePing database, search for notifications, read contributions on the Enquiry Point fora, access files shared at the international level and view Enquiry Point contact information. However, to receive email alerts, save custom searches, track favourite notifications, access the national discussion forum and file sharing functions, registration is necessary.

2.3  Select your language of preference

2.4.  To choose a language, click on the red language button link at the right side of the top menu. This will open a dropdown with the choice of languages available: English, French and Spanish. Click on the language in the dropdown to change the language in which you navigate the ePing system. The language chosen will apply to your email alerts and general use of the system. It can be modified at any time.

2.4  Register on ePing

2.5.  To register, click on the "register" button on the menu ribbon on top of the home page (or on "Not a user yet" in the "Log in" window). The registration window contains three distinct areas to fill in: "Personal information", "Filter preferences" and "Email alert preferences".

2.4.1  Personal information:

2.6.  The "Personal information" section requires you to provide your full name, your email address, your country/territory, the name of your organization, the nature of your organization and a user password.

2.7.  As explained in Section 1.4, each WTO Member has an obligation to establish an SPS and a TBT Enquiry Point. Many of these Enquiry Points are also tasked with outreach to domestic stakeholders regarding other countries' notifications. To facilitate this task, in ePing, they can have access to the list of users from their country. Therefore, while indicating your country, please consider selecting the country, whose Enquiry Point you may wish to be in touch with regarding notifications of concern.

2.8.  The "organization type" cell contains four broad categories: "Government", "Standardizing body", "Private sector" and "Other (IGO, NGO, academia, other)". You are invited to specify your affiliation(s) among the sub-categories. Once your selection(s) is highlighted, please click just outside the dropdown box to confirm your selection.

 

 

2.9.  If you are an SPS and/or TBT Enquiry Point official, you could also request Enquiry Point administrator rights to benefit from the Enquiry Point Management Tool. Before you submit your request by sending an email to spstbtalerts@wto.org, please check to make sure that your country's Enquiry Point information as indicated on ePing is correct and up to date. Your request will then be processed by the ePing system administrator.

2.10.  Once granted Enquiry Point administrator rights, you can access the additional functions of the Enquiry Point Management Tool. For further information on the use of ePing as an Enquiry Point official, please go to section four of this user-guide.

 

2.4.2  Filter preferences: Product selection, Notification Type, Notifying Members

 

2.11.  In the "Filter preferences" section, you can define personal filtering criteria to receive notification email alerts tailored to products and markets of your interest. You can define your filters by type of product, type of notification and /or notifying member. If you prefer to receive all notifications per email alert, leave all cells blank. (You can define additional filters for your email alerts on the "search notifications" page. See section 3.4 for further explanations on additional filters.)

2.12.   Product selection : Not all notifications provide full details on products covered. For optimal results, specify product name(s), corresponding HS code(s) and ICS code(s). If a notification matches any of these options, it will be in the email alert.

Product names:

         Type name(s) of product(s) you wish to receive notifications about (e.g. bananas).

        If you want to receive notifications about a series of products, separate product names with the term "OR" (e.g. mango OR banana)

         You can also enter synonyms or related product names to improve your filter. For example, if you are exporting salmon, you can enter "salmon OR fish".

 

ICS codes:

         By typing product names or codes in the box, the corresponding options appear. Select the product code(s) for product(s) you wish to receive notifications about.

 

HS codes:

         By typing product names or codes, the corresponding options appear. Select the product code(s) for product(s) you wish to receive notifications about.

 

What are HS and ICS codes?

 

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System generally referred to as the Harmonized System (HS) is an international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). It has been adopted as the basis for describing and classifying goods and applying tariffs for customs purposes by most trading nations. ePing is currently using HS Version 3 (2002). For further information on HS codes, you can consult the relevant information from the WCO website .

The International Classification for Standards (ICS) has been developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO) as a way of classifying standards into consistent fields, such as electrical engineering or food technology. For further information, please consult the relevant ISO publication.

 

2.13.   Notification type : Select whether you want to receive SPS notifications only, TBT only or both SPS and SPS notifications.

2.14.   Notifying members : If you are interested in notifications from specific WTO Members only, select them from the drop-down menu.

2.4.3  Email alert preferences:

2.15.  Select email preferences to receive alerts for new notifications matching your registration filters and additional filters defined on the "search notifications page" (see section 3.4). You can choose to receive daily, weekly email alerts, or to receive no email alerts. You will only receive an email alert when a new notification matches your filter preferences. You can also choose to receive email alerts when subsequent contributions (comments or files) are shared related to notifications matching your filters and/or favourites lists.

2.4.4  Finalizing and modifying your registration:

2.16.  Click on the 'Register' button to finalize your registration. This will close the registration pop-up window and you will be automatically logged into the ePing system. The "search notifications" page will open by default. You will also receive a confirmation email sent to all new users. If you have requested Enquiry Point administrator rights, you will receive a separate email from the ePing administrator once your request has been processed and approved.

2.17.  Note that your registration information and preferences can be modified at any stage by clicking on "My account" on the top right once logged into the system.


 

3  Use ePing as a regular user

3.1  Receive email alerts on notifications of interest

3.1.  The central feature of ePing is its notification email alert system. Below you can see an example of an email alert. The email alert contains a list of notifications that match the user's filtering criteria. Some key information from each notification is extracted and presented in the email: the notifying Member(s), the symbol, title and description of content, the products covered, the comment deadline, the link to the official notification document itself and the link to the full text of the planned measure contained in the notification (if provided by the notifying Member(s).

 

3.2.  A file in CSV format, which may be opened in Microsoft Excel or in any other spreadsheet software, containing the list of notifications included in the alert is also attached to the email.

3.3.  Members can submit notifications in one of the official languages of the WTO: English, French or Spanish. You will initially receive all notifications which match your filters, irrespective of your preferred language. Once these notifications have been officially translated (generally within five working days), you will also receive them in your preferred language. The alert email will indicate "translated notification" under the "symbol, title and description of content" column.

3.4.  By clicking on the symbol of an individual notification, you are redirected to a pop-up summary (which is also accessible through the "search notifications" page). Below you can find an example of such a notification summary:

 

3.5.  Sometimes WTO Members provide additional information regarding measures they have already notified, by submitting an "Addendum" to the original notification. If a notification is in the Addendum format, its document symbol will end with the suffix "Add" (for example, G/SPS/N/EU/162/Add.1). Addenda can refer for example to the extension of the comment period or the adoption and entry into force of the measure. If a notification is an Addendum to a previously submitted notification (as in the pop-up summary example above), the full notification "history" is provided in the form of accessible links below the notification symbol.

3.6.  If you would like to contact your country's Enquiry Point with questions or comments regarding a particular notification, you can click on the links to the national SPS and TBT Enquiry Point contact details provided at the end of each email alert (see below). These direct you to the "Enquiry Points" page of the ePing website, where your national TBT and SPS Enquiry Points are placed on top of the list.

 

 

3.2  "Search notifications" tab overview

3.7.  Registered ePing users have a range of functionalities at their disposal to track notifications, ranging from the simple search of recent SPS & TBT notifications (from the last three years) to the creation of additional filters and favourites lists. All these functionalities can be managed from the "search notifications" page, which can be displayed by clicking on the "search notifications" tab on the menu ribbon.

3.8.  The "search notifications" page has four main areas:

         Filter Names

         Filter Details

         Notification List

         Record Navigation Footer



3.9.  By default, the Notification list is sorted by distribution date in descending order (most recent first). Members can submit notifications in English, French or Spanish. The original version of the each notification is made available immediately and is accessible via ePing (click on EN, ES or FR). Once the notification has been translated into the other two languages by the WTO Secretariat (normally within 5 days), the hyperlinks for the other languages are also made available.

3.10.  A number of extra functionalities are available for each listed notification as shown below. The number and type of icons displayed depends on whether the user is logged in/registered. Non-registered users can only use basic functionalities such as searching notifications or accessing the "Enquiry Point" lists.

Download notification in English

Download notification in Spanish

Download notification in French

Access and/or upload additional files related to the notification (such as translations, explanatory documents).

Post comments and/or view others' contributions on the discussion forum.

Add the notification to your favourites list (a highlighted star indicates that the notification has been added to your favourites list)

Share the notification via email.

 

3.3  Search SPS & TBT notifications

3.11.  To search a notification on ePing, enter any combination of the information in the Filter Details area on the "search notifications" page (e.g. all notifications about the product "coconut" in the example below). The ePing database contains all notifications which were circulated in the last three years. If you're looking for older notifications, you can consult the SPS IMS or the TBT IMS, which contain all SPS and TBT notifications notified by members since 1995.

3.12.  To narrow down your search, use the different filtering options provided in the Filter Details area:

      Notifying Member: WTO Member that has submitted the notification to the WTO. It is dropdown list; start typing the name of a Member and the system will propose Member names.

      Symbol, Title and Description of content: The symbol, title and/or description of content of the regulation. This is a free text field.

      Distribution Date: The date the WTO has circulated the notification.

      Products: Products (free text), HS codes and/or ICS codes covered by the notifications. You can improve your search results by filling out each of the product search criteria. For HS and ICS Codes, you can start by typing a product name in the box and the system will make suggestions. When selecting multiple HS/ICS codes and or product names, all corresponding notifications containing one of the HS/ICS codes or product names will be displayed. When entering product names, you can use the 'AND' and 'OR' command to search for notification covering all or any of the products names.

      Objectives: Objective of the notification. These are objectives of the measures as identified by Members in the SPS and TBT notification formats.

      Keywords: Keywords assigned to notifications by the WTO Secretariat to facilitate searches (only applies to SPS notifications)

      Regions or countries Affected: Specific regions or countries that will be affected by the new regulation, if specified in the notification (only applies to SPS notifications). Not many notifications specify regions/countries affected. To maximize results, it might be better not to narrow down the search with this criteria.

      Comment Deadline: Deadline for submitting comments on the notification.

3.13.  You may use the column headers to sort the list of notifications by the column of your choice. Click the button to the right of the column header to sort by that column. The button image will change to and the chosen column will be sorted in ascending order. Click again to sort the column in descending order. The header sort button image will change to .

 

3.14.  The resulting list of notifications will be displayed in the Notification List area of the page and the number of matches will be indicated in the Record Navigation Footer area as can be seen above. (for the product 'coconut', there were 84 notifications in the database at the time of the search )

3.15.  It is also possible to export the list of notifications from the "search notifications" page to a file in CSV format, which may be opened in Microsoft Excel or in any other spreadsheet software, allowing users to manage notifications offline. The "Export to Excel" button can be found at the bottom right corner.

3.16.  The "Clear" button on the right of the Filter Details area removes all the search criteria that were previously chosen and applied to the list of notifications.

3.4  Define additional filters for your email alerts

3.17.  It is also possible to define additional filters for your email alert from the "search notifications" page. The notifications matching these new filters will automatically be added to your email alerts and appear in a separate table.

3.18.  Note that two filters are already in the Filter Names area: one containing all notifications available in the ePing database and another one containing all notifications matching your registration filter.

 

3.19.  To create an additional filter:

1.   Define the filtering criteria within the Filter Detailsarea (in our example "coconut" under "Products").

2.    Click on the "Save" button in the Filter details area.

 

 

3.   A new filter tab will appear to the right of the existing filter tabs with a blinking cursor.

4.    Enter a name for the filter in the space with the blinking cursor ("coconut" in our example).

5.    Click on the newly-created filter tab to refresh the new list of notifications.

 

 

3.5  Add a notification to favourites

3.20.  When users are logged in, they can tag notifications as "Favourite" identifying notifications they want to assign to themselves to follow, work on and/or set a date to receive a reminder (i.e. similar to a task list).

3.21.  To create a favourite category and add a notification to the category (and receive email updates):

1.   Click on "Search notifications" in the top ribbon to open the "Search notifications" screen.

2.   Identify the notification you would like to add to your Favourites list.

3.   Click on the -icon displayed next to the notification. This will open a pop-up screen with three entry options. Enter the requested information:

      Send me a reminder (optional): Receive an email reminder.

      Favourite category: User chooses or adds a category of favourites to which the notification will be assigned.

      Completed (only shown for Favourites already created by the user): This is selected when a user is finished working on the notification.

      Click on the "Add button" to complete the setting up of the Favourite category

4.   Click on the "Favourites" tab in the top ribbon to open the Favourites screen.

5.   To see the notifications in a specific favourite category, select that category from the dropdown at the top right.

3.22.  To remove an existing favourite category (and its associated notifications):

1.   Select the favourite category from the dropdown at the top right of the Favourites screen.

2.     Click on "Delete Category". The system will ask if you are sure you want to delete this category. Click on the 'Yes' button.

3.23.  To remove a notification from a favourite category:

1.   Select that favourite category from the dropdown at the top right.

2.   Scroll down the list and locate the notification to be deleted

3.   Click on the favourite icon -to the right of the notification. This will display the popup below.

4.   Click on the "Remove" button. A confirmation popup will display.

5.   Click the "Yes" button to remove the notification from the favourite category.

3.6  Share notifications by email with contacts

3.24.  Users who are logged in can share via ePing any notification listed in the search page, for example with colleagues who are not ePing users but for whom a given notification would be of interest.

3.25.  To share a notification:

1.   In the 'Search notifications' or 'Favourites' pages, scroll the notifications list to the notification you would like to share.

2.   Click the -icon to the right of the notification. This opens the 'Notification sharing' popup.

3.   Enter the email address(es) of the contact(s) you would like to share the notification with. Separate each email address from the other using a comma. If you have Enquiry Point administrator rights (see section 4), you can also select national users, external contacts and groups of users from a dropdown. Start typing their name and options matching the characters entered will appear.

4.   Enter the subject of the email

5.   Type a message for the contacts

6.   Click on the "Send email" button to send the email to your contacts.

7.   The person receiving the message will see the following email (with your text). Your email address will appear in copy:

 

3.7  View/participate in discussion fora related to notifications

3.26.  For each individual notification, there are two types of discussion fora in the ePing system:

      The International Discussion Forum for Enquiry Points

      The National Discussion Forum

3.27.  Only Enquiry Points, which have been granted administrator rights, can make contributions to the international discussion forum for Enquiry Points. Yet, all ePing users can read the contributions even if they are not logged in.

3.28.  An Enquiry Point registered on ePing will be automatically alerted when a contribution is added to a notification issued by its government. In addition, if the notification under discussion matches a user's filter(s), the user will also receive an email alert regarding contributions to the international discussion forum (depending on registered email alert preferences). Clicking on the link in the email will take the user directly to the relevant discussion forum.

3.29.  At the national level, the Enquiry Point, which has been granted administrator rights for ePing, needs to activate the National Discussion Forum in order for national users to be able to exchange comments. Only users registered as being from that country can view/post comments in the national discussion forum.

3.30.  The national Enquiry Point official registered on ePing will always receive an email alert when contributions are shared at the national level. In addition, if the notification under discussion matches a national user's filter(s), the user will also receive an email alert regarding contributions to the national discussion forum (depending on registered email preferences). Clicking on the link in the email will take the user directly to the relevant discussion forum.

3.31.  To access the discussion fora in ePing:

1.   Identify the notification you want to view/discuss on the "Search notifications" page

2.   Click on the -icon in the cluster of icons to the right of the notification. This will open the forum pop-up page. On this page, there is a tab for each discussion forum.

3.   A bold balloon indicates that the forum already contains at least one contribution.

3.32.  In order to make a contribution to the National Discussion Forum, enter your contribution and click on the "Add" button. To delete a contribution that you previously added, click on the red X to the right of the contribution in the list of contributions. To quote a previous contribution in your response, click on the red quote icon.

3.33.  A sample email alerting users of a new contribution is provided below.

3.8  View/share files related to notifications

3.34.  For each individual notification, there are two types of file sharing options in the ePing system:

      File sharing at the international level

      File sharing at the national level

3.35.  At the international level, Enquiry Points may want to share an informal translation of a notification or written comments they have prepared. Only registered Enquiry Points with administrative rights can add files at the international level but any user can view them.

3.36.  An Enquiry Point registered on ePing will be automatically alerted when a file is added at the international level to a notification issued by its government. In addition, if the notification to which a file is added matches a user's filter(s), the user will also receive an email alert (depending on their registration preferences). Clicking on the link in the email will take the user directly to the relevant file sharing tab.

3.37.  At the national level, the Enquiry Point may wish to share a translation into local language of a notified regulation or an interpretation of how to address the new requirements, etc. Similar to the discussion forum, the national Enquiry Point needs to activate this feature and only users from that country can view/upload files. However any files added must be first cleared by the Enquiry Point before they are displayed in ePing. Enquiry Points require no clearance to add and share files.

3.38.  The national Enquiry Point official registered on ePing will always receive an email alert when files are shared at the national level. In addition, if the notification to which a file is added matches a national user's filter(s), the user will also receive an email alert (depending on registration preferences). Clicking on the link in the email will take the user directly to the relevant file sharing tab.

3.39.  To view or upload additional files related to a particular notification, locate the notification on the "Search notifications" page. Click on the icon in the cluster of icons to the right of the notification. This will open the "Shared Files" pop-up page. A highlighted paperclip image cid:image001.png@01D404AD.6A096180 indicates that files have already been added to a notification.

 

3.40.  The Shared Files pop-up page contains two tabs: International and National. These tabs indicate the scope of sharing and how many files have already been shared.

 

3.41.  To add a file:

1.   Click on the "Add file" button. This will open the File upload popup.

2.   Enter appropriate information for:

a.   Title:

b.   Description:

3.   Click on the "Choose File" button. This will open a file chooser dialog box that will allow the user to select a local file. The maximum file size allowed is 50 MB. The file formats and the associated filename extensions allowed are:

a.   Microsoft Word (doc, docx)

b.   Microsoft Excel (xls, xslx)

c.    Adobe PDF (pdf )

d.   Text (txt)

4.   Navigate to the folder or directory on your local system where the file you want to upload is located.

5.   Click on the file you wish to upload.

6.     Click on the 'Upload' button

3.42.  The Enquiry Point for the user's country/territory will receive an email notification that a file has been added and needs to be cleared. After the Enquiry Point clears the uploaded file, the uploader will receive an email similar to the email below. The shared file will now display in the popup window under the National tab. The user who uploaded a file can also opt to delete the shared file by clicking on the delete link x.

3.43.  If the notification to which a file is added matches a national user's filter(s), the user will also receive an email alert similar to the one below (depending on registration preferences). Clicking on the link in the email will take the user directly to the relevant file sharing tab.

3.44.  To access the uploaded file, any registered user can also go to the search page and click on the -icon in the cluster of icons to the right of the notification, which opens the "Shared Files" window. The file will be displayed under the "National" tab. In addition to the Title and Description provided by the user when uploading, ePing will display the name of the uploader, the uploader's country/territory and the date the file was added.

3.9  Find contact details of SPS and TBT Enquiry Points

3.45.  Each WTO Member has an obligation to establish an SPS and a TBT Enquiry Point to answer all reasonable enquiries from other Members regarding SPS/TBT requirements. (see section 1.4 on Enquiry Points for further information).

3.46.  If you have questions or remarks about a notification, you can either contact your country's/territory's Enquiry Point or the Enquiry Point of the notifying WTO member. Click on the "enquiry points" link on the menu ribbon to display the list of Enquiry Points.

 

3.47.  Notice at the top of the page that there are three tabs: TBT Enquiry Points, SPS Enquiry Points and SPS Notification Authorities. Both the SPS and the TBT Agreement require the establishment of an Enquiry Point as well as the designation of an authority responsible for notification obligations. In practice, one list is maintained in the TBT area as most entities serve as both the Enquiry Point and the Notification Authority. In the SPS area, the two lists are maintained separately - even if the same entity is sometimes serving both functions. It is up to each WTO Member to decide which agency should track incoming notifications and alert stakeholders as necessary.

3.48.  For a user who is not logged in, the Enquiry Point contact details are displayed in ascending alphabetical order by country/territory. For a user who is logged in, the first entry will be the Enquiry Point contact details for the country the user selected at registration. All other entries will display in alphabetical order. The second column within each tab displays whether the Enquiry Point is registered on ePing with administrative rights for Enquiry Points.


 

4  Use ePing as an Enquiry Point

4.1  Register as an Enquiry Point with administrator rights

4.1.  Through its Enquiry Point management tool, ePing provides additional functionalities to officially designated Enquiry Points to reach out to other Enquiry Points or national users, facilitate communication among public and private sector stakeholders and have a general overview of national stakeholders' interests.

4.2.  The very first step for an Enquiry Point user is to request SPS and/or TBT administrator rights in order to be able to access further functionalities. Please note that Enquiry Point administrator rights are separated for SPS and TBT areas (notably regarding the activation of discussion forum and file sharing options). Only Enquiry Points responsible for both SPS and TBT areas will be granted administrator rights for both areas.

4.3.  Once your request has been processed and approved by an ePing administrator, you will receive the following email:

 

4.4.  You can now access the "admin" page by clicking on the admin tab in the menu ribbon. You will notice five sub-tabs :

1.   National ePing users

2.    External contacts

3.    My groups

4.    Files to clear

5.   National settings

 

 

4.2  Using ePing as a platform to manage national user community

4.2.1  View list of national users:

4.5.  Under the "National ePing users" tab, Enquiry Point users can view the following registration information for national ePing users:

      First name

      Last name

      Phone

      Email

      Organization

      Group

      Filter criteria (type of product)

      Filter criteria (type of notification (SPS/TBT))

      Filter criteria (notifying Member)

      Frequency of email alert

      SPS/TBT admin rights ( possibly granted to other Enquiry Point officials from same country )

4.6.  This information, which can be filtered and/or sorted by alphabetical order, enables the Enquiry Point to have a comprehensive overview of national stakeholders' information and interests with regards to SPS/TBT notifications.

4.7.  Additionally, Enquiry Points have the possibility to deactivate (and reactivate) accounts. A user whose login is disabled cannot participate in discussion fora or file sharing and no longer receives email alerts. Furthermore, Enquiry Points can give group management rights to certain national stakeholders. These stakeholders are typically representatives of sector associations who may benefit from contacting their members about specific notifications (read more about group management rights in section 4.7).

4.2.2  Send emails to national users:

4.8.  To send an email to national users:

1.   Select the national users you want so send an email to by ticking their respective tick boxes on the left of their personal information (OR directly type any email address under 'To' within the popup box which opens after clicking on 'Send email').

2.    Click on "Send email". A popup box will then open.

3.    Enter any additional email addresses by separating them by a comma.

4.    Enter a subject and a text message to the recipients of your email.

5.   Click on 'Send'

 

 

4.9.  When the Enquiry Point sends a message via ePing from the "national ePing users" page, the recipients will receive the following type of message, copied to the Enquiry Point:

4.10.  Please contact the ePing administrator at spstbtalerts@wto.org if you are interested in utilizing the SMS function.

4.2.3  Add and manage external contacts (non-ePing users)

4.11.  Under the "External contacts" tab, you can add and manage external contacts you would like to be able to contact through the ePing system. This way, the Enquiry Point can reach out to national stakeholders who are not (yet) registered on ePing or to regional/international contacts.

4.12.  To add external contacts:

1.   Click on the "New contact" button.

2.     The 'New contact' pop-up will open.

3.   Enter the following information as indicated:

      First Name

      Last Name

      Phone (optional)

      Email

      Organization Name

      Group (Optional): Select the name of a group from the dropdown or you may start typing the name of the group. ePing will filter the group names as you type.

4.   Click on the Save button.

 

4.13.  The external contact will now appear in the list. Note that a contact in this window can be deleted or edited by clicking the "Edit" or "Delete" buttons to the right of that contact in the window.

 

4.2.4  Create groups of national users and/or external contacts

4.14.  Under the 'My groups' tab, you can create and manage groups of national users and/or external contacts. It is also possible to send emails to group members.

4.15.  To create a group and add national users or external contacts to the group:

1.   Click on the 'Create group' sub-tab.

2.   Enter a group name under 'Name'.

3.   Click on the 'Create group' button.

4.   Click on the dropdown list to the right of the page to expand the list of groups.

5.   Select the group to which you want to add members.

6.   Click on the 'Add member' button. This will display the contact selection pop-up listing national ePing users and external contacts. Select the users you wish to add.

7.   Note that users may be members of more than one group.

4.16.  To delete a group,

1.   Click the checkbox to the left of the group to select that group

2.   Click on the 'Delete group' button.

3.   Click 'Yes' to confirm the delete.

Please note that you will only delete the group, not the contacts in that group.

 

4.2.5  Send messages to a group or members in a group

4.17.  In order to send an email message to all members of a group, click on the tickbox next to "First name". All users of the group will be selected. Then click on "send email" to draft and send your message. You will always be copied on messages you send out from the system.

4.18.  In order to send an email message to selected members within a group, click on the tickboxes next to their names. Then click on "send email" to draft and send your message. You will always be copied on messages you send out from the system.

4.3  Manage national settings for discussion forum and file sharing

4.19.  SPS and TBT Enquiry Point users can manage the file sharing and discussion forum options for SPS and TBT notifications respectively. In addition, they can purchase credit to be able to send SMS to selected users. (Please contact the ePing system administrator at spstbtalerts@wto.org if you are interested in utilizing the SMS option).

4.20.  The national discussion forum and file sharing options are by default deactivated. The registered SPS and TBT Enquiry Points can decide to activate these functions for SPS and TBT notifications respectively, to facilitate information sharing at the national level.

4.21.  On this page, SPS and TBT Enquiry Points can also see the overall number of files shared and comments posted on SPS and TBT notifications.

4.4  Participate in Enquiry Point discussion forum

4.22.  As an Enquiry Point user, you have the possibility to participate in the Enquiry Point discussion forum available for each notification. Please note that only officially designated Enquiry Points, who have been granted administrator rights by the ePing administrator, can make contributions to the discussion forum. Once a contribution has been posted by an Enquiry Point, all users can view it. Any Enquiry Point can delete its own comments shared on the fora at any time.

4.23.  Please see section 3.7 for further details on how to use the discussion fora.

4.24.  Please note that the Enquiry Point discussion forum cannot be used for official communications and does not create any obligations under the SPS and TBT Agreements.

 

4.5  Share files at the international level

4.25.  While regular users can only share files at the national level, registered Enquiry Points can upload files related to a particular notification both at the national and at the international level. Files shared at the international level are visible and publicly available to all users.

4.26.  Please see section 3.8 for further details on how to share files.

4.6  Clear files uploaded by national users

4.27.  Before a file uploaded by a national ePing user is visible to all national users, the Enquiry Point user has to clear it. Files added to SPS and TBT notifications will be under the clearance responsibility of the respective Enquiry Points. To do so:

1.   Click on the sub-tab 'Files to Clear' to access the list of files added by national ePing users.

2.    To download the file, click on the title of the file under the column "Title".

3.    If you want to clear the file, to enable other national users to access it, check the box 'Clear'.

 

 

4.7  Group management rights for selected users

4.7.1  Grant group management rights

4.28.  Enquiry Points can grant group management rights to selected national users, allowing them to add external contacts to the ePing system, group them and send these (groups of) contacts email or SMS messages. These group management rights are meant for sector associations or other active stakeholders, who may wish to reach out to other potential stakeholders who are not necessarily registered on ePing.

4.29.  To grant group management rights:

1.   Go to the national ePing users tab. Identify the user to whom you wish to grant group management rights.

2.     Scroll to the column on the very right and tick the "Group admin" box for this user.

 

4.30.  Users with group management rights will have access to an "admin" menu, added to the main menu ribbon.

 

4.7.2  Management of external contacts by users with group management rights

4.31.  A user with group management rights can add non-ePing users to the database and send message(s) via email or SMS. Under the 'External contacts' sub-tab, four functionalities are available:

1.   Add new external contacts

2.    Create groups

3.    Send emails

4.   Send SMSs

 

 

4.32.  Toadd new external contacts:

1.   Go to 'Admin' in the main menu. Click on the 'external contacts' tab.

2.   Click on the 'New contact' button. The 'New contact' popup will open.

3.   Enter the following information as indicated:

a.   First Name

b.   Last Name

c.    Phone (optional)

d.   Email

e.   Organization Name

f.   Group (optional): If you have already created groups (see below), select the name of a Group from the dropdown or you may start typing the name of the group. ePing will filter the group names as you type.

4.   Click on the Save button.

4.33.  The external contact will now appear in the window. Note that a contact in this window can be deleted or edited by clicking the 'Edit' or 'Delete' buttons to the right of that contact in the window.

4.34.  You can also send email messages to external contacts and create groups of external contacts. See sections 4.2.4 and 4.2.5 for further information on these functions, which are similar to how the Enquiry Point manages external contacts.

 

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