Jan 18, 2013, 11:14 AM
Like many countries, The Gambia faces significant challenges concerning quality assurance in various aspects, particularly, exports to the European Union, Madam Sohna Sowe, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment said in a one-day forum held at Sun Set Beach Hotel.
Madam Sowe, who was addressing participants yesterday at the awareness forum for Economic Operators on the WTO, TBT and SPS , said the government of the Gambia, with support from the European Union, was able to launch in 2008 the "Competitiveness Support and Harmonisation of TBT and SPS Measures Project" under the framework of the West African Quality Programme.
This project, she added, "is currently working with other government departments and agencies that deal with SPS and TBT related issues to strengthen our infrastructures to improve quality attainment and control in the country."
"I am sure you are also aware that the National CODEX Alimentarius Committee and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), through its specialised committees, have already started working in setting standards in the area of food and industrial products, respectively", she stated.
According to her, government will continue to support the efforts of these committees to ensure that national standards are not only available to protect domestic consumers, but also meet international standards in order to increase access to international markets.
"The impact on international trade is significant and continue to grow as consumers and governments in both developed and developing countries markets' strive for increased consumers safety and environmental protection", she stated, noting that enhanced market access opportunities for developing countries most frequently need to be targeted to increase capacity to address TBT and SPS issues as part of a broader strategy to improve competitiveness.
The forum, she further stated, is intended to enable the economic operators, particularly those who are involved in the production and export of food products, to be aware of the TBT and SPS requirements that their products would be subject to.
Other speakers at the forum included Mr. Joseph Ndenn, the Coordinator of West African Quality Programme and Mr. Abdoulie Jammeh of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment.
The forum was organised by the West African Quality Programme, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment.