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Trade Minister calls for a central system to address technical regulations gaps

By gna

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of the Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative, on Monday called for a central system for technical regulations to address identified gaps and overlaps relating to technical regulations.

He said different standards and regulations in excess of what was needed, could pose technical barriers to trade if problems identified were not addressed.

The Minister made the call when he opened a two-day training and awareness workshop on standards and technical regulations in Accra.

The workshop was jointly organised by Ghana Standards Board (GSB) and the Trade Ministry with support from the African Organisation for Standardisation and German-based Physikalisch-Technisch Bundsansalt (PTB).

The awareness training workshop has stakeholders from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, importers and exporters, manufacturers and industrialists, the judiciary, Customs and Excise and Preventive Service and the business community.

Papa Ankoma noted that Ghana's standards and efforts made towards alignment with international standards and the close links with international standards had helped reduce the need for Ghanaian products to be subjected to re-testing on the export markets.

"As a small export-oriented economy, we cannot afford to be complacent and must keep abreast with industry trends and developments. Our standards and quality infrastructure must continuously evolve to address global concerns that shape the world's economic landscape. Our enterprises need to constantly adapt to global changes to remain competitive.”

He said GSB had become the National Enquiry Point for World Trade Organisation Technical Barriers to Trade and urged industry and trade sector practitioners to constantly liaise with GSB to update their knowledge in the area.

Mrs. Charlotte A. Ohene-Manu, a Deputy Executive Director of GSB, said the current approach to technical regulations by a number of ministries and regulators was fragmented and ineffective.

She called on regulators to adopt internationally accepted good practice for enacting technical regulations, which include providing for the involvement and control of independent conformity assessment service providers through accreditation, enacting regulation in accordance with World Trade Organisation requirements and impact assessment to determine the effect of regulation on trade.

Mrs. Ohene-Manu explained that in order to achieve positive trade balance, the influx of goods and services must be counter-balanced by Ghanaian goods and services to ensure competitiveness of Ghanaian products and enhance thorough standards and technical regulations.