Trade Minister, Oliver Joseph has cited the need for greater harmonisation of technical regulations and standards within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the adoption of standards for vehicles imported into the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Grenada is a member.
Addressing these issues at a ceremony last week Friday marking the 14th observance of ‘World Standards Day’, the senior government minister indicated that, “standards for vehicles, is something that we must place at the CARICOM agenda.
“It’s just that everyone is aware that we (CARICOM) do not have standards” for the importations of vehicles,” he said, adding, “so Japan produce vehicles (with certain standards) for certain parts of the world (that have standards for the importation of vehicles) and (then) there is a category called the rest of the world (ROW) for all those (countries) that do not have standards” on the importation of vehicles.
“And that is a burning issue. The issue of trust,” the trade Minister said, pointing to the 2016 World Standard’s Day theme, ‘Standards Build Trust.’
“Standards are more critical than you think it probably is,” the minister added while pointing out that “with the soon to be implemented free trade of goods within the OECS region (in which) goods coming from outside of the region through the first port of entry in any member state will automatically be permitted in all states, (it) calls for greater harmonisation of our technical regulations and standards within the OECS and points to the adoption of standards where all member states have the same requirements of specifications.”
Minister Joseph expressed the view that, “the way we approach standard development must be placed within the current realities of the changing face of global trade, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the emerging issues of Climate Change, alternative energy efficiencies and environmental sustainability”.
“Our participating regional technical committees as national representatives must be encouraged (as) we must lobby at the regional standards development level to have specifications and requirements that allow competition, ensure quality, gives value for money to the consumer and protects human health and safety, to plants, animals and the environment,” he added.
In that light, Minister Joseph urged all national stakeholders, especially the business community and consumers to show greater interest in regional standards development.
“There is a great need to make meaningful research and data intervention during the commencement and voting stages of these regional standards,” he remarked.
So far in 2016, the Grenada Bureau of Standards published 11 new standards. Of these, 6 were adopted international food standards from Codex Alimentarius (the international food standard setting body of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations/World Health Organisation (FAO/WHO).