UNIDO, EU back Armenia in boosting its quality infrastructure

ARMENIA – The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia, UNIDO, and the Delegation of European Union (EU) to Armenia have launched a project entitled “Support to Quality Infrastructure in Armenia” to strengthen the institutional capabilities of the Armenian National Body for Standards and Metrology (NBSM).

Over 70 participants from various ministries, government organizations, and private sector organizations in Armenia, as well as from diplomatic missions and the global development sector, attended the project opening ceremony.

In his welcome message Vahan Kerobyan, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia emphasized the importance of the project noting, “stakeholders will be provided with sustainable and internationally recognized metrology services, the quality of manufactured goods in Armenia will be improved and international recognition of measurements and tests performed in Armenia will be guaranteed.

“This will contribute to the improvement of people’s quality of life and expand trade with the EU and other foreign countries,” he added.

Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, emphasized the EU’s support for Armenia’s sustainable economic growth by highlighting the project’s contribution to the execution of CEPA’s provisions.

“It will improve trade competitiveness of the goods produced in Armenia, reaping the benefits arising from the provisions of the CEPA. 

“The development of Quality Infrastructure (QI) will benefit not only the trade sector but also other sectors, including food safety and health, climate change, and the environment,” she said.

While speaking on behalf of the private sector, Arsen Ghazaryan, President of the Union of the Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia, noted that Armenian businesses need accurate measurements to produce products that meet quality specifications. 

“A well-developed National Quality Infrastructure System will increase the competitiveness of the country’s economy and its ability to participate in global trade and value chains,” he said.

Upgrading the metrology system

Since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2003, the Republic of Armenia, a landlocked nation in the Southern Caucasus, has worked to increase trade and enhance its integration into the world economy.

The European Union (EU) and Armenia recently signed the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which aims to improve the foundation for the nation’s long-term resilience and socioeconomic recovery.

To effectively utilize the trade agreements for meaningful benefits, Armenia needs to develop a robust National Quality Infrastructure System (NQIS).

The productive sector of Armenia will receive assistance from this NQIS in proactively removing technical barriers to trade (TBT) and boosting trade competitiveness.

Currently, Armenia has a weak NQIS with metrology being one of its nascent components. 

There are no internationally recognized calibrations available in the country, which forces Armenian stakeholders to obtain calibrations from overseas providers, leading to increased costs and a lack of confidence from its trade partners as well as peers in the metrology community, thus preventing its enterprises from fully accessing the benefits of trade.

The €4.1 million (U.S$4,319,186) EU-funded project will establish and equip four calibration laboratories, and capacity-building activities will be undertaken in line with relevant international standards and best practices. 

A digital platform will also be developed to allow service provision by digital means.

In addition, the Armenian Government will be supported to develop a National Quality Policy (NQP) and a QI strategy for improving the governance of the NQIS in Armenia. 

A legal and technical review of the metrology law will be conducted and support will be provided for the revision of the legislation. 

The governance of the NBSM will also be strengthened to enable it to become a demand-driven provider of metrology services.

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