The most notable non-signatory to the 1958 Convention is the United States, which has its own federal motor vehicle safety standards and does not recognize UN type approvals. However, both the United States and Canada are parties to the 1998 Agreement, so unspecified vehicles and components that do not comply with U.S. regulations cannot be imported into the United States without significant modifications. Canada has its own Canadian motor vehicle safety standards, which are largely similar to the U.S. FMVSS, but Canada also accepts UN-compliant headlights and bumpers. The upcoming Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement could lead Canada to recognize more UN regulations as acceptable alternatives to Canadian regulations.  Canada currently applies 14 of the 17 most important WEE standards as acceptable alternatives – exceptions at this stage are motorcycle controls and displays, motorcycle mirrors and electronic passenger car stability control. [Citation needed] These other three groups will be admitted until the trade agreement is ratified in Canada. [Citation needed] The first two stages focus on the preparatory work for accession, including coordination and responsibilities, and highlight the strategic issues to be discussed before accession. The third stage concerns exclusively accession to the agreement, eligibility and related procedures.
The fourth stage defines the process for the development and preparation of United Nations Global Technical Regulations (GTRs). The first signatories of the 1958 agreement were Italy (28 March) and the Netherlands (30 March). March), Germany (19 June), France (26 June), Hungary (30 June), Sweden and Belgium. Originally, the Agreement allowed participation only by UNECE member States, but in 1995 the Agreement was revised to allow non-EEC members to participate. Current participants include the European Union and its member countries, as well as non-UNECE members such as Norway, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Tunisia, and even remote regions such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. Most countries, even if they do not formally participate in the 1958 Convention, recognize UN regulations and reflect the content of UN regulations in their own national requirements or allow the import, registration and use of UN-approved vehicles or both. The United States and Canada (with the exception of lighting regulations) are the two main exceptions; UN regulations are generally not recognized, and UN-compliant vehicles and equipment are not approved for import, sale or use in both regions unless they are tested for compliance with the region`s vehicle safety laws or for limited non-driving use (e.B. auto show displays).
 The implementation of activities related to vehicle legislation has shown that accession to and implementation of the 1998 Convention will significantly increase vehicle safety. For many countries, however, the main question remains how to prepare for accession and implementation of this Convention so that they can benefit from its provisions to ensure that safer and greener vehicles are used in their countries. The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations is a working party (WP.29) of the Sustainable Transport Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Its task is to manage the multilateral conventions on technical regulations for the construction, registration of wheeled vehicles and their regular roadworthiness tests signed in 1958, 1997 and 1998, and to implement a kind of vehicle regulation within the framework of these three conventions for the elaboration and amendment of UN regulations, United Nations global technical regulations and United Nations rules. The “Convention on the Establishment of Global Technical Requirements for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts Which May Be Fitted to Wheeled and/or Used Vehicles” or the 1998 Convention is a subsequent agreement. In accordance with its mandate to harmonize vehicle regulations, UNECE has resolved the main problems (administrative provisions on type-approval as opposed to self-certification and mutual recognition of type approvals) that prevented non-signatories to the 1958 Convention from participating fully in its activities. This booklet, produced by the Secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), presents the main steps and several sub-steps recommended by countries around the world wishing to accede to the 1998 Convention and fully implement it. The 1998 Agreement was born to create meta-regulations called Global Technical Regulations, without administrative procedures for type-approval and thus without the principle of mutual recognition of type approvals.
The 1998 Convention requires Parties to establish by consensus the United Nations Global Technical Regulation (gtr) in a United Nations global registry. The UN gtrs contain globally harmonized performance requirements and test procedures. Each UN AGM contains detailed information on its development. The text contains a statement of the technical justification, the research sources used, cost-benefit considerations and references to the data consulted. The Parties shall apply their nationally established regulatory procedures when transposing the UN gtr into national law. The 1998 Convention currently comprises 33 Contracting Parties and 14 Members of the United Nations Council, which have been inscribed on the United Nations Global Register.  Manufacturers and suppliers cannot directly use the UN-gtr as they are intended to serve countries and require transposition into national or regional law. Initially, WP.29 had a wider European scope. Since 2000, the global reach of this forum has been recognized through the active participation of countries from all continents. It is currently not possible to produce a single car design that fully meets the requirements of the United Nations and the United States, but it is becoming easier and easier as technology and both sets of rules evolve. Given the size of the vehicle market in the United States and the different marketing strategies in North America compared to the rest of the world, many manufacturers produce vehicles in four versions: North America, EEC Right Hand Drive (RHD), EEC Left Drive (LHD), and rest of the world (for unregulated countries or countries of poor fuel quality).
15] The 1958 Agreement is based on the principles of type-approval and mutual recognition. Any country that accedes to the 1958 Convention has the power to test and approve the design of a regulated product by any manufacturer, regardless of the country in which that component was manufactured. Each individual design of each individual manufacturer is counted as an individual type. Once an acceding country has granted a type-approval, any other acceding country shall be required to grant such type-approval and to consider that such vehicle or motor vehicle equipment is lawful for importation, sale and use. .