Aligning Mozambique’s National Quality Infrastructure with the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement
Why does Mozambique need a National Quality Infrastructure?
Quality is a pre-requisite for Mozambique’s economic success; it is well-recognized that standards, technical regulations and over burdening testing and certification requirements (Technical Barriers to Trade) can be major impediments to domestic production, international trade, foreign investment, consumer protection and economic growth. Mozambique’s domestic industry needs to demonstrate that they are capable of producing high quality, safe goods and services for domestic and foreign markets. This demonstration is carried out by implementing a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) which is guided by the country’s National Quality Policy.
For Mozambique to compete and succeed in today’s regional and global market: traders, producers and suppliers must not only find a buyer, but they must also ensure that their products meet the importing country’s safety requirements, as well as the customers’ expectations. This includes providing credible proof of this.
To facilitate trade and industrial growth as well as protection of health and public safety for the Mozambique people, the government must develop and implement an effective strategic plan (National Quality Infrastructure) that is transparent, meets the needs of domestic industry and is fully compliant with the country’s international and regional trade agreements, such as the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, the Sanitary Phytosanitary Agreement and the TBT provisions contained in the SADC Trade Protocol.
A National Quality Infrastructure is essential in breaking down technical barriers to trade. Building a NQI will enable Mozambican enterprises to meet the demands of a multilateral trading system and to provide credible proof that their products conform to international standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment requirements. This is extremely important for both business and regulatory authorities. This is a complex challenge that has to be met in several organizational dimensions including the public and private sectors, academia, trade associations, and other stakeholders. Private sector involvement is crucial to the overall success of a national quality program; they are the ultimate beneficiaries of such a program. A properly developed and implemented NQI will minimize the duplication of re-testing and re-certification requirements and eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade and market access delays. This would lead to a reduction in release time for merchandise at the borders, both at the import and export level as well as reducing transaction costs for trade.