The 2015 COPANT (Pan American Standards Commission) General Assembly was held on April 14 and 15 in Mexico City, successfully organized by the Dirección General de Normas, the COPANT member for Mexico.
The opening ceremony of the meeting included the distinguished presence of the Deputy Secretary for Competitiveness and Normativity of the Ministry of Economy, Mrs. Rocio Ruiz Chavez, who noted that Mexico is committed to participate more actively at regional and international level and is pleased to see that COPANT has evolved to be a strategic body that generates opportunities for cooperation and dialogue, better representing the voice of our region. During the opening ceremony had also the presence of the Deputy Secretary of Quality and Regulation of the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Francisco Mass Peña, who mentioned that among the measures to boost the quality and competitiveness of tourism standardization is considered as a strategic pillar in that Ministry. Mexico is becoming a major tourist destination, growing in tourist arrivals in 2014 by 20.5%. We were also honored with the presence of the President of IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), Dr. Junji Nomura who stressed that this organization can support countries in the COPANT region to verify the safety of electrical appliances and encouraged to participate in IEC activities. For his part, the Vice President of Policy for ISO (International Organization for Standardization), Mr. John Walter, who is also the CEO of the Standards Body of Canada, a member of COPANT, acknowledged the leadership of Mexico in the region, which facilitated the venue to develop COPANT activities during the week building a solid foundation of friendship, trust and cooperation activities on the benefit of the region.
President of COPANT, Mr. Joe Bhati (left) and Chairman of CROSQ, Mrs. Anthea Ishmael share a light moment after the signing of the MOU between the two bodies.
The 2015 meeting was attended by 25 active members, 6 adherent members and 9 invited organizations, totalling 94 delegates at the meeting. The most important activity during this meeting, with a preparatory session the day before, was to define through four working groups, the strategic planning 2016-2020. The four working groups reaffirmed their leaders and analyzed and defined objectives and activities to achieve compliance with the four Strategic Priorities of COPANT which are:
- Building Capacities – Led by Mexico and Argentina;
- Increasing International Participation in Targeted Areas – Led by Brazil and the United States;
- Promoting Effective Conformity Assessment Services – Led by Chile and Colombia; and
- Strengthening Regional Collaboration and Cooperation – Led by Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.
During the meeting is also noteworthy the signing of a cooperation agreement between COPANT and CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality, CROSQ.
During the week of COPANT a Workshop was conducted on Perspectives of Standardization and Conformity Assessment for Leaders of the NSBs, organized by the Mexican Accreditation Agency - EMA, and which also included speakers from Canada and the United States, who shared the structure and functioning of their national quality systems.
On Friday April 17 DGN organizes visits to companies and organizations for delegates COPANT, among which are highlighted visits to the Cerveceria Modelo, facility of NYCE-ANCE-MABE and the food industry Yakult.
Two meetings were also carried out on COPANT Focal Group on Tourism Services, led by Mexico; and the of the Spanish Translation Management Board of ISO, whose secretariat is with AENOR Spain.
The General Assembly session concluded with a dinner hosted by the hosts with typical dances of the country.
This is a press release of the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT). Photos reproduced from COPANT.
The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and The Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) today formalised its strategic alliance with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
The MOU, signed by Chairman of CROSQ, Mrs. Anthea Ishmael and President of COPANT, Mr. Joe Bhati, is intended to foster greater cooperation in the field of standardisation and conformity assessment, based on international principles and regulations.
The agreement was signed at the COPANT General Assembly and Strategic Planning Session, which will conclude today, April 15, 2015, in Mexico. The agreement, which also recognises the need for worldwide international standards, sets the stage for collaboration between contributing hemispheric organisations, and encourages the exchange of information, views, capacity building programmes and instruments of standards development, adoption, implementation and quality assurance between COPANT and CROSQ Member States, namely the members of CARICOM.
CROSQ is regional centre for promoting efficiency and competitive production in goods and services, through the process of standardisation and the verification of quality. Headquartered in Barbados, it aims to support international competitiveness for the enhancement of social and economic development of the region. COPANT comprises the National Standards Bodies of all the Americas, inclusive of 34 active members and 10 associate members. It is the reference organisation for technical standardisation and conformity assessment for the countries of the Americas, its members and international peers, and promotes the development of its members.
The MOU is signed by President of COPANT, Mr. Joe Bhati (centre) and Chairman of CROSQ, Mrs. Anthea Ishmael (right), while Executive Secretary of COPANT, Mrs. Kory Eguino (left) looks on.
The private sector in the Dominican Republic is excited about opportunities to harmonise standards in that country, with those of CARICOM.
A recent mission by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) to the Dominican Republic which involved discussions with INDOCAL, the Dominican Republic Standards Organisation and the private sector, highlighted various opportunities for harmonisation of trade standards, which is the process by which agreed product and service quality-related specifications are aligned across nations.
Chairman of CROSQ, Mrs. Anthea Ishmael told the large gathering during the three days of consultations and discussion that the harmonisation activity was based on the Free Trade Agreement between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Dominican Republic which was signed in 1998; and of which the implementing protocol was signed in 2001.
“The fundamental objective of the Agreement,” she noted, “was to strengthen commercial and economic relations between the Parties through a number of initiatives, including - the establishment of a Free Trade Area between the Parties consistent with the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (the WTO), and, the promotion and expansion of the sale of goods originating in the territories of the Parties, elimination of non-tariff barriers to trade, and the establishment of a system of Rules of Origin, Customs Co-operation and the Harmonization of Technical, Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary procedures.”
“As the CARICOM organization with the responsibility for assisting with the dismantling of Technical Barriers to Trade through strengthening of regional quality infrastructure institutions, CROSQ has been developing and implementing strategies to support the objectives of the Agreement stated previously. One such initiative is within the 10th EDF (European Development Fund) programme ‘Support of the Forum of Caribbean States in the implementation of the commitments undertaken under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)’.”
“An outcome of this programme is the harmonization of standards between the Caribbean Community, represented by CROSQ and the Dominican Republic, represented by INDOCAL. Five standards have been chosen . . .,” the chair said, commending the parties involved for their commitment to the process thus far.
She further underscored the importance of the role the private sector would play in the process, noting, “My presence here today, as the Chairperson of CROSQ, is to demonstrate CROSQ’s commitment to, and support for, this activity. INDOCAL has also demonstrated its commitment by organizing and hosting this dialogue with you the stakeholders, who will be the principal beneficiaries of the outcomes. Your support is therefore critical to the realization of these objectives, and the many benefits to be derived.”
President of INDOCAL, Mr. Manuel Guerrero likewise stated the importance of the initiative with the Dominican Republic.
“The major result of this important activity [is to] achieve the greatest amount of standards harmonisation to the greatest possible extent; [that] standardising institutions participate fully and adequately, within the limits of its resources, in the preparation by international institutions with relevant standardisation activities . . .
“Regional institutions involved [must] also make every effort to achieve a national consensus on the standards they develop. Likewise, the regional standardising institution should make every effort to avoid duplication or rework of international institutions with relevant standardisation activities,” said the president.
CROSQ’s Technical Officer – Standards, Mr. Fulgence St. Prix hailed the two days of discussions extremely successful and thanked the European Union, noting that even after the official stakeholders’ consultation had ended, members of the private sector kept enquiring about other specific standards they would like to see harmonised.
Among the standards discussed for harmonisation are: Mangoes; Bananas; Labelling of Goods - General Principles; Labelling of Goods – Pre-packaged Goods; Specification for Toilet Tissue; Specification for Cement and Specification for Rum.
January 29, 2015 – GEORGETOWN, GUYANA – A leading provider of internationally recognised accreditation services that improve consumer confidence, facilitate market access and economic growth, invited various businesses in Guyana aspiring to become accredited to international standards.
The event was hosted yesterday at the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), Exhibition Complex Sophia, Georgetown. Facilitating the process was Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) Sharonmae Shirley. The JANAAC official explained that accreditation allows people to make an informed decision when selecting a laboratory, as it demonstrates competence, impartiality and capability. It helps to underpin the credibility and performance of goods and services.
Ms. Shirley noted that laboratory accreditation is generally provided by one recognized accreditation body within a country. In some developing economies, without established accreditation bodies, laboratories may have to seek accreditation from an established accreditation system in another country such as JANAAC. Emphasizing that accreditation increases the confidence that international consumers and their regulatory agencies have in the goods and services provided by businesses, the CEO said it also tells the world that your business is technically competent and meets all the requirements of an international standard. Therefore, businesses that are accredited will not only meet regulatory requirements but also have a marketing edge.
Ms Shirley further explained that by becoming accredited, medical and testing labs eliminate doubts about their results, performance and affirm competence in their respective areas of expertise. Internationally, exporters have lost millions of dollars over the years because of the detention of their products in the ports of entry of importing countries. This is largely due to the fact that the products were not tested by an accredited lab prior to entering their markets. An attractive business opportunity therefore exist for labs that are accredited by JANAAC, to provide testing services to exporters who are seeking to eliminate these technical barriers to trade.
She underscored that JANAAC provides internationally recognised accreditation services and training to Laboratories, Inspection Bodies and Certification Bodies that facilitate market access, enhance competitiveness and consumer wellbeing through improved stakeholder confidence in the quality and integrity of goods and services supplied.
JANAAC is currently a member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC). The agency is also an associate organization of the Caribbean Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (CLAS).
As Jamaica’s national accreditation body, JANAAC plays a very important role in facilitating trade between Jamaica and its trading partners. Through the provision of accreditation services, the agency enables local Conformity Assessment Systems to meet international standards and eliminate some Technical Barriers that have affected Jamaican manufacturers and exporters for many years. (As published in the Kaieteur News Online)
SLBS issues Standards for Public Comment
The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards [SLBS] is soliciting feedback from the public on a series of standards to be adopted as Saint Lucia National Standards. The standards are concerned with requirements in the areas of Labelling of Commodities, Short Term vehicle rentals, graphical symbols, Weldable Reinforcing Steel, fused plugs, outlets and adaptors. This is one of the most critical steps in the standards development process to ensure that the standards, once implemented, reflect the views and input of a wide cross section of the public, in particular the industry which will be immediately impacted by the application of the standard.
The series of standards being circulated for comment are mostly revisions and with one new area that of vehicle rentals receiving attention for the first time.
The public comment stage for these standards is aimed at capturing the comments of stakeholders and the general public in order to identify and address areas of concern and to ensure that consensus on the contents of these standards is achieved before adoption.
Two of the standards, labeling and vehicle rentals will be available online at www.slbs.org.lc,for comment, the other standards will only be available at public libraries, upon a request to the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of, Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs, the Government Documentation Centre, or the St. Lucia National Archives.
The deadline for receipt of comments is Thursday 12th March 2015.
Twenty-one (21) persons in the region are now qualified to administer the CALIDENA methodology on value chains.
This is through a CALIDENA “Train the Trainer” workshop held at the Barcelo Hotel in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic in December. The objective was to train local facilitators to administer the methodology to develop action plans which would address issues specific to the value chains in seven countries. Those countries and chains were:
1. Antigua and Barbuda – honey/wax
2. Belize – shrimp
3. Dominican Republic – honey
4. St Kitts Nevis – breadfruit/breadnut
5. St Lucia – seamoss
6. Suriname – yard long beans
7. Trinidad and Tobago – cocoa.
With this training, the workshop participants, who included value chain representatives, national standards bureaus and consultants, are now qualified to aid with the improvement of the quality of goods in the respective value chains, as well as making those value chains more competitive.
The term “value chain” is based on the concept that the value of a product is created at various stages in production, and looks at all these steps from creation to market, to human resources, research and development, as well as the relationships behind the companies involved in developing the product. CALIDENA is a component of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ)-implemented, and the National Metrology Institute of Germany, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)–funded, Establishment of a Demand-Oriented and Regionally Harmonized Quality Infrastructure in the Caribbean Project, more commonly known as the RQI4.
The training began with opening remarks by Director of Pro CALIDAD, the host organisation, Ms. Claribel Lopez, who welcomed participants to the Dominican Republic and explained to them the functions of her organisation. Project Coordinator with CROSQ, Ms. Janice Hilaire, highlighted the role of CROSQ in trade competitiveness through improvements in quality infrastructure, its relationship with PTB and the role of the RQI 4 Project and how interactions with participants will progress over the three stages (feasibility, diagnostic and follow-up) of administering of the methodology.
The training involved a set of activities structured to give insight into quality infrastructure, value chain analysis and how CALIDENA incorporates the two to achieve its objectives. The trainer, Dr. Ulrich Harmes- Liedkte, also explained the importance of card facilitation to the effectiveness of delivery, and provided detailed insight into the CALIDENA methodology.
An important component of the training was a field trip to an apiary and honey processing plant so participants could observe the practices as related to quality infrastructure of these institutions. The visit allowed participants to pull together the learning of the previous days and critically assess what exists in terms of quality infrastructure and the existence of gaps. Emphasis was placed on the preparation of action plans and how participants can go about prioritising activities for inclusion in the plan. Participants began the planning of their road map for administering the methodology for the selected value chains in their countries.