Gov't protecting consumers from substandard goods — Shaw

Friday, April 20, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says Jamaica remains vigilant in protecting consumers from the influx of substandard goods in the marketplace.

He noted that while it is estimated that 80 per cent of global trade is affected by standards and technical regulations, Jamaica still has to be alert in order to ensure that “ our local market is not being abused by the importation of illicit goods” that fall way below international standards.

“In fact, about a week ago, our local police authorities seized a considerable amount of goods from stores in the Corporate Area that were in fact illegal imports that were below standard and were forged in terms of the authenticity of the brand names and so on,” the minister pointed out. “We have to take it seriously,” he added.

The minister was giving the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) General Assembly at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, St James, on Monday.

Shaw said that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has been facilitating the development and adoption of standards to meet market needs and requirements in order to effectively compete and trade globally.

He noted that from April 2017 to March 2018, the BSJ facilitated the publication of 125 standards that address the needs of industry, regulators, consumers and other stakeholder groups.

He informed that 54 per cent of the published standards were adopted from regional and international standards, and will enable businesses to become more competitive, facilitating trade and export.

“We must therefore ensure that we continue to build a culture of quality, which sees standards becoming a part of our everyday life and, over time, we will readily implement regional and international standards in our public and private sectors,” he added.

Shaw said that the Government is committed to the strengthening of Jamaica's national quality infrastructure, citing among other things, the revision of the National Quality Policy in 2017. He noted that the policy, which was first issued in 2001, affirms the Government's commitment to strengthening the national framework for the development of a sustainable standards-led, market-driven economy supported by a culture of quality in order to achieve global competitiveness and consumer protection.

“Consumers are demanding better quality goods and services. Changes in consumer behaviour, the availability of new technologies and shifts in buying power are reshaping the industry's supply chain. We must ensure that quality standards are used to meet consumer demand and promote customer satisfaction,” the minister said.

He noted further that as industry changes, standards must also evolve to meet global demands. “This means, therefore, that standards must be embedded in new process areas to meet expectations of consumers, industries and trading partners. This will certainly have implications for the way we operate in the future,” he pointed out.

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