With support from the SADC Regional Economic Integration Support (REIS) Programme, the SADC Technical Regulations Liaison Committee (SADCTRLC) and SADC Secretariat Standardization, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) Programme conducted training for 20 regional officers from 7 SADC Member States for data collection in the area of technical regulations.
The objective of the training was to develop a questionnaire and reporting template that the officers would use to collect information on the development and implementation of technical regulations from relevant stakeholders in their Member States. The two day workshop took place from 2 – 3 December 2014 at the Oasis Motel in Gaborone, Botswana. A Technical Regulation is defined by which compliance is mandatory”.
According to the WTO, Member countries the World Trade Organization (WTO) as “a document which lays down product characteristics or their related processes and production methods, including the applicable administrative provisions, with are to ensure that technical regulations are not prepared, adopted or applied with a view to, or with the effect of, creating unnecessary obstacles to trade. For this purpose, Technical Regulations are not to be more trade-restrictive than is necessary to fulfill legitimate objectives, taking account of the risks non-fulfillment would create. Such legitimate objectives are, inter alia:
- national security requirements;
- the prevention of deceptive practices;
- protection of human health or safety, ani mal or plant life or health, or the environment.
The recommended best practice in the preparation of national technical regulations is to base the regulations on international standards. Technical Regulations that fulfill the above shall be considered not to create unnecessary barriers to trade.
The SADCTRLC was created to contribute to regional integration and trade by facilitating harmonization of Technical Regulations that are identified to create unnecessary barriers to trade in the region. As rather little is known about SADC Member States’ different technical regulatory frameworks, the SADCTRLC intends to create a central repository of information on technical regulations in the region, identify technical regulations that are not harmonized and adjudged to be creating trade problems, and facilitate their harmonization.
The process of Technical Regulations data collection will start in a pilot group of seven SADC Member States: Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia. Data collection in the rest of the Member States will be carried out as a second phase of the exercise later.
The workshop in Gaborone resulted in creation of a questionnaire and reporting template that those trained will use between mid-January and mid-February 2015 to collect the required data and report in a harmonized way.
A consolidated report of the data collection results from these initial 7 Member States will be presented to the SADCTRLC for adoption at their annual plenary meeting which is due to be held in the DRC in March 2015.