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Quality Standards are Key Part of Global Trade – Minister Davies

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says the South African government recognised the increasingly instrumental role that quality standards play in international trade, hence its focus on strengthening the country’s technical support institutions. Minister Davies was speaking at the World Accreditation Day celebrations in Pretoria.

The event also marked the opening of the new offices of the South African National Accreditation System (Sanas) in Equestria, east of Pretoria. The World Accreditation Day, is celebrated globally on June 9 every year, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of accreditation. This year’s theme is Delivering a Safer World.

“Since we launched the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) nearly a decade ago, we have deliberately and with strategic foresight tried to foreground the work of technical infrastructure institutions. This is due to the fact that in a variety of ways, standards and adherence to standards, the ability to write your own standards and the ability to implement quality assurance measures, have increasingly become critical elements of international trade,” said Davies

He added that as an important player in global trade, South Africa cannot afford to be found wanting in regards to standards as there is an increasing demand in the international market for high standards.

“If we cannot write our own standards and establish testing facilities that enable us to demonstrate that our products meet certain standards, we will become prey to other people’s institutions, rules and agendas. We need to be very much aware that the issues of standards are used as a non-tariff barrier, a way of keeping products out of other markets,’’ explained Davies.

He added that the country’s four technical support bodies, namely Sanas, National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) have a critical role to play in ensuring that the country meets high quality international standards.

“The important role played by these four institutions is to lock in South African products into exports markets and to lock out unsafe products which are harmful to our people and create unfair competition to local manufacturers and producers who work hard to meet our standards,” said Davies.

He added that South Africa was facing a challenge of import products that are coming into the country not meeting the local standards and are competing with locally-produced products in price but not in quality.

“We need to up our game in dealing with these sub-standard products as some of them cause harm to our people, such as the paraffin stoves,” emphasised Davies.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the new offices of the South African Accreditation System (Sanas) in Equestria, east of Pretoria, as Sanas Board Chairperson Mr Prags Govender, and Chief Executive Officer, Ron Josias look on.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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