TANZANIA – In a decisive move aimed at enhancing trade and economic contribution, the 26th East African Community (EAC) Standards Committee is set to approve 102 standards on goods from the region alongside 99 international standards.

This initiative seeks to mitigate the longstanding issues caused by unharmonized standards, duplicative inspections, and testing, which have historically delayed trade and increased business costs within the EAC.

The EAC Standards Committee, established in 2006, plays a crucial role in coordinating, monitoring, and implementing the harmonization of standards across the community. Its efforts are pivotal in ensuring the quality control of goods produced by member states, thereby supporting the region’s economic integration and trade efficiency.

During the two-day meeting held in Arusha City, Tanzania Bureau of Standards Director General Dr. Yusuf Ngenya emphasized the multifaceted purpose of these standards.

“The purpose of these standards is not only to facilitate trade within the EAC region but also to protect consumers’ health and prevent member states from becoming dumping grounds,” stated Dr. Ngenya.

He outlined that the standards cover a wide range of areas, including food.

Dr. Ngenya highlighted the importance of harmonized standards in fostering regional trade. He assured that Tanzania, through the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), is committed to adopting these standards promptly.

“The standards approved are fundamental in addressing technical impediments and boosting trade and the economy of the EAC regional member states,” he remarked.

Collaborative efforts in standardization

The meeting, which brought together the heads of all standards institutions and quality control from EAC member states, highlighted the collaborative efforts in standardization.

Reports from various technical committees, including those on standards, quality control, metrology, measurements, and the Codex committee, were presented. Additionally, committees addressing trade impediments and a task force on the strategic plan and preparation of regulations for implementation also submitted their reports.

These recommendations will be reviewed by the heads of standards institutions from the EAC community. The ultimate goal is to streamline business processes within the region, which comprises eight member states.

Dr. Ngenya mentioned that further deliberations will occur in subsequent cabinet meetings focusing on trade, investment, finance, and industry.

As the meeting concludes, the approved standards are expected to set a new precedent for trade facilitation and consumer protection in the EAC, fostering a more integrated and efficient market environment.

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