Multilateral Trade Liberalization and regional Trading Arrangements (RTAs) have brought about significant erosion of border tariffs in international trade in recent years. Concurrently Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) have assumed greater importance in regulating trade-related activities. If developing countries want to enter the global market, they must be able to comply with many export requirements such as standards and technical regulations usually referred to as Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
Compliance with a reliable Quality Infrastructure (standards, technical regulations, metrology, testing, quality assessment, certification and accreditation) is therefore a key determinant of export competitiveness for developing countries. Current global trade is based on technology-intensive manufacturing and other processes on the one hand, and growing demands for safety, quality and innovation from consumers on the other. A sound Quality Infrastructure (QI) is therefore a gateway for developing countries to improve their competitiveness and connect to global value chains. It also builds investor confidence in developing countries keen to attract much needed foreign direct investment for their development.
The weakness of the QI sector in ACP countries, many of which are small and vulnerable economies creates impediments for their trade with third countries in spite of generous duty-free and quota-free market access granted to them by the EU and some other developed countries. Addressing TBT obstacles and building the capacity of their QI sector is no doubt an important trade facilitation step in boosting exports of ACP countries.
Addressing this problem at the country and regional levels is one of the objectives of the TBT Programme. So too is strengthening the capacity of ACP countries and their regional organisations in complying with TBT on external markets and encouraging their effective participation in the shaping of TBT issues and defining and enforcing legitimate and adequately harmonized technical regulations on their internal markets in conformity with existing WTO agreements.
The Programme addresses TBT issues in ACP countries at three levels, namely:
- Upgrading and strengthening Quality Infrastructure and related institutions
- Empowering economic operators and export sectors to comply with international market requirements
- Disseminating results, good practices and experiences.
The Programme is financed by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund. It is a demand-driven Programme responding to requests for capacity building from ACP countries to ensure full ownership by the ACP beneficiaries.
The TBT Programme is your Programme for addressing technical barriers to trade in your countries and the PMU invites you to derive the utmost benefit from it.