The six different SADC Technical Barriers to Trade Cooperation (TBT) Structures held their annual meetings in Namibia. Their objectives are to eliminate TBTs amongst the Member States and between SADC and other trading partners. They cover the sectors of metrology, accreditation, standardisation and quality assurance – a vast network which is known as “quality infrastructure”. The National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB) is currently implementing a project financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to strengthen quality infrastructure in order to enhance trade and consumer protection in the SADC. The project’s main implementation partners are the TBT Structures.
As in past years, PTB representatives made use of the opportunity presented by the TBT meetings to meet with PTB's political partner, the Unit which deals with quality infrastructure within SADC’s Directorate for Industrial Development and Trade. Furthermore, together with the TBT Cooperation Structures, ideas about upcoming activities were discussed, news was shared and mutual esteem was expressed.
One of the most discussed topics in various meetings was the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and its implications for SADC Member States and regional institutions. It was clear that the TBT Cooperation Structures will deal with the AfCFTA in the years to come and a lot of work still needs to be done. A special highlight this year was the celebration of the 10th anniversary of SADCAS, a multi-economy accreditation body of 13 SADC Member States. SADCAS’s foundation and its activities have been – and still are – supported by PTB projects. SADCAS is guided by the idea of efficient regional cooperation and is unique in the world.
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