Capacity Building to Strengthen the National QI in Zimbabwe

Posted on: February 13, 2014

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Under the sponsorhip of the TBT Programme, a two-day workshop has been held in Harare on the 26th and 27th of March at the request of the Standard Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ). 

The workshop provided an overview of the WTO TBT Agreement.  The background, purpose and scope of the Agreement were presented as well as the main principles and disciplines. A particular attention was given to conformity assessment requirements and procedures. Furthermore participants from Government institutions, the public and private sector used the workshop as a forum to share information and experiences on TBT Agreement implementation aspects. The workshop included presentations from the host authorities on Zimbabwe´s experience with implementation of the TBT Agreement. 

The importance of an adequate infrastructure has also been highlighted during the workshop. The WTO TBT Agreement requires members like Zimbabwe to have a minimum institutional infrastructure that includes a National Standards Body, an Enquiry Point and a Notification Authority. The challenges of the export sectors have also been debated highlighting the fact that Zimbabwean companies to export, products and services, producers must meet the demands of the target markets in terms of quality, safety, reliability, environmental compatibility and hygiene and provide credible proofs. 

Thus, if the adequate infrastructure is not in place or if it is underdeveloped, the lack of acceptable proof can constitute a technical barrier to trade. Indeed, with the growing number of standards and technical rules imposed by the market and the ever-higher demands, technical barriers to trade are becoming an increasingly important issue. Today, they represent a major obstacle to poverty reduction through trade.

Finally the workshop presented the key objective of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade as a preventive instrument to ensure that national measures do not result in discrimination or arbitrary restrictions on international trade. The wokshop helped Zimbabwean stakeholders to clarify how to pursue their own policy objectives without creating unnecessary barriers to trade for other countries, whilst at the same time developing their competitiveness and expanding their exports in regional and international markets.

Read also the Official Bulletin of Standards Association of Zimbabwe >> download document

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