The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has taken part in a virtual seminar with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to discuss the national regulatory organisation’s responsibilities around the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement’s Transparency Framework.
The seminar discusses the national regulatory organisation’s responsibilities in the drafting of policies, regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures.
SABS lead administrator Jodi Scholtz explains that the principle of transparency underpins the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and that this is attained through the framework of notifications, the establishment of enquiry points and publication requirements.
“All States that are members of the WTO have an obligation to drive transparency by making available all the documentation related to the enablement of trade within borders and to be available for addressing enquiries from member States.”
South Africa, as one of the 164 countries that are signatories to the WTO’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, has to ensure that all technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures do not create unnecessary obstructions to trade.
“The SABS has the responsibility of coordinating and resolving all enquiries that arise from both local and international stakeholders that experience barriers to trade. Hundreds of alerts and enquiries are dealt with on a monthly basis and these queries range from reviewing regulations, to managing queries on local trade conditions and any requests for country contacts regarding equipment and infrastructure,” notes Scholtz.
Notifications relating to regulations, changes to conformity assessment procedures or new or amended standards can have an impact on trade and it is important to ensure that South Africa does not intentionally or unintentionally restrict or hinder open trade, adds Scholtz.
Any citizen can access the WTO ePing portal at https://epingalert.org/en to receive alerts and updates on the regulations issued by member States of the WTO.
The site has a search function that enables users to research product specifications by market or country and by industry classification.