As part of the technical assistance on standards to improve the effectiveness of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) national enquiry points (NEP), strengthen the regulatory framework for standards, enhance the standards development process and improve private sector involvement in standards development, the SA Trade Hub facilitated the formation of national TBT Consultative Committees for Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia.
A two-day workshop for each country was organized in collaboration respectively with Lesotho Department of Standards and Quality Assurance, Malawi Bureau of Standards and Zambia Bureau of Standards to establish and capacitate the national consultative committees for each country. Workshop participants included government ministries, regulatory authorities, the private sector, and traders’ associations.
A National TBT Consultative Committee provides a mechanism for consultation and advisory at national level as well as coordinating and overseeing the implementation of the WTO TBT Agreement. WTO TBT Consultative Committee is viewed as a way to provide an effective inclusive mechanism for consultation and advisory at the national level to coordinate and oversee the implementation of the TBT Agreement.
The workshops took the participants through the processes and procedures of establishing a consultative committee using best practices and making reference to different consultative mechanism models from other countries. In addition, participants reviewed obligations of WTO members under the TBT Agreement, draft terms of reference for a consultative committee, composition, legal framework, funding models and sustainability as well as transparency and the need for outreach. The three workshops are part of a series of workshops including Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia.
Photo: TBT consultative committee workshop in Lesotho.