The Trade Hub organized a benchmarking mission from April 19-25 for five standards officers: three from the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) and two from the Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA). The objective of the mission, which took the officers to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), was for the delegates to understand the effective operations of a World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) National Enquiry Point (NEP) as they work to institute NEPs in their own countries.
In addition to the tour of KEBS’ various facilities such as testing laboratories and the National Quality Institute, the delegates were able to learn about KEBS’ enquiry point management, notification process, data management system, publication of standards, and overview of the African Regional Organization for Standardization. The delegates identified a number of critical takeaways, including the notification system, private sector participation in standards development, awareness activities, and efficient enquiry point management.
The WTO TBT agreement requires each WTO member to establish a National Enquiry Point and notification authority to handle requests for information from other WTO members, individuals, organizations from other countries, and domestic stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
This is the second NEP benchmarking mission the Trade Hub has facilitated. The first mission saw eight delegates (two from Lesotho, three from Malawi, and three from Zambia) participate in a similar assessment trip to the American National Standards Institute and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. in January 2014.