EAST AFRICA – SGS, the world’s leading provider of testing, inspection, and certification services, has introduced the EAC-Ready product certification scheme designed to assist product suppliers eyeing the burgeoning markets of the East African Community (EAC) in navigating the complexities of regional standards and regulations.
For nearly two decades, SGS has been a trusted service provider in the East African region, offering pre-shipment verification of conformity (PVoC) services.
These PVoC programs, operated by multiple EAC member states, ensure that imported products comply with national and regional standards, guaranteeing quality and safety.
SGS has now introduced the EAC-Ready product certification scheme, designed to systematically prepare products for entry into East African markets.
This voluntary certification ensures that products conform to relevant East African Standards (EAS), a set of common standards binding all EAC member economies. It provides a clear pathway for businesses looking to tap into the vast EAC market, aligning with the regulations of each member state.
According to SGS, the EAC-Ready certification does not replace existing PVoC programs operated by EAC members.
Instead, it complements these programs, simplifying the process of obtaining mandatory Certificates of Conformity (CoC) for EAC-Ready certified goods. This cost-effective solution streamlines processes, reduces intervention during PVoC transactions, and accelerates shipping and customs clearance times.
The EAC-Ready certification scheme applies to products with existing EAS standards, spanning various categories such as food and chemicals. Suppliers can be located within or outside the EAC region.
SGS’s EAC-Ready scheme adheres to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 standard requirements and holds accreditation from the GCC Accreditation Center (GAC) and the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB-Philippines), both members and signatories of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
Benefits of EAC-Ready certification
EAC-Ready certification offers a multitude of advantages for businesses seeking to enter East African markets.
First and foremost, it provides a distinct commercial advantage by showcasing adherence to relevant East African Standards (EAS), positioning businesses ahead of the competition.
Moreover, the certification translates into significant time and cost savings, expediting the issuance of Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) under Pre-Shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC) programs.
This not only resolves potential non-conformities before shipping but also accelerates the clearance process, minimizing delays.
Importantly, the EAC-Ready scheme offers a stress-free certification experience, conducted in a structured and separate manner from shipping activities, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of conformity.
This meticulous certification process fosters enhanced confidence among consumers and regulatory bodies across EAC member states.
Lastly, by carrying the prestigious EAC-Ready certification mark, products contribute to bolstering the image and reputation of the entire East African Community, further solidifying the region’s standing in the global marketplace.
The certification process may encompass product testing, factory and desk audits, and documentary reviews, depending on the nature of the product and certification scheme. These activities ensure adherence to specified EAS requirements and quality standards.
Certification agreement and marking
Upon a positive certification decision, applicants enter into an agreement with SGS, outlining terms and conditions for compliance during the certification period.
It also defines the rules for using the SGS EAC-Ready certification mark. Products certified are permitted to display this mark for the duration of validity.
The EAC stands as one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions, covering a vast expanse that includes Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania (including Zanzibar).
With its combined GDP exceeding USD 305.3 billion, according to SGS, the EAC boasts enormous potential for global businesses seeking to expand their market presence.