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Adhere to standards to avoid delays at ports, Shaw urges

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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ROSE HALL, St James — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw has called on authorities in the region to ensure that they adhere to local and international standards in order to avoid delays at the ports.

The minister, who was addressing the 2018 Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) General Assembly at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in St James yesterday, noted that such delays are not beneficial.

“There are no benefits when our goods or products are stopped at borders because they have not met the standards of that country, or the international standards established by world trading bodies. If we are to be successful in the global marketplace, we must make use of the provisions available to us through our various trade agreements, including the recently published WTO (World Trade Organization) Trade Facilitation Agreement,” Shaw stressed.

“Therefore, as a region, we must harmonise to cut compliance costs and simplify the process of meeting requirements, as well as reduce complexity for those tasked with testing and auditing standards compliance,” he said.

According to the minister, it is estimated that 80 per cent of global trade in goods and services are affected by standards and technical regulations.

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

Shaw added that during the period April 2017 to March 2018, the BSJ facilitated the publication of 125 standards that addressed the needs of the industry, regulators, consumers, and other stakeholder groups. He noted that 54 per cent of the published standards were adoptions of regional and international standards.

The minister also pointed out that the Jamaican Government is committed to the strengthening of the country's National Quality Infrastructure, hence a policy revision in 2017.

Shaw said, too, that the local market must not be neglected.

“While the focus for us is about standards so we can penetrate export market, at the same time, we have to become more vigilant to ensure that our local market is not being abused by the importation of illicit goods that fall way below the international standards.

“In fact, about a week ago, our police authorities seized a considerable amount of goods from stores in the Corporate Area that were illegal imports that were below standards, that were forged in terms of the authenticity of the brand names and so on. So, we have to take it seriously on both sides of the coin,” stated Shaw.

Representatives from 34 COPANT member countries, as well as from other organisations across the world, are attending the five-day meeting, which ends on Friday.

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