BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved US$750,000 in funding for a programme that will assist the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with strengthening intra-regional trade.
At least five countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia and Suriname – will benefit from three interventions to be implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).
“This programme will assist producers with overcoming some of the challenges encountered when trying to export their products, and will therefore enhance their ability to increase market access, penetrate new markets and integrate into global value chains,” said Daniel Best, director of projects, CDB.
“Some of the key constraints manufacturers, exporters and service providers in the CARICOM face are caused by non-tariff trade barriers, otherwise known as technical barriers to trade,” he added.
The director also noted that well-functioning quality infrastructure can minimize TBTs, open doors for producers in CARICOM countries to regional and international markets, and help them to raise the standard of their production processes, thereby enhancing their competitiveness.
Quality infrastructure refers to the public and private institutional framework required to implement standardisation, accreditation and conformity assessment services, including inspection, testing, and laboratory and product certification.
The CDB-funded interventions will assist with bringing regional goods in line with international standards.
• developing national quality policies intended to protect consumers and safeguard human health, safety, and the environment;
• technical assistance to two testing laboratories – to be chosen from among the five countries — for International Standards Organisation (ISO) 10725 accreditation; and
• development and implementation of an awareness campaign to promote and sensitise stakeholders, particularly women, indigenous people, youth and other minority and at risk groups, on matters related to the development and implementation of quality policies, and to improve knowledge and use of accredited testing services.
CROSQ is scheduled to commence the 18-month strengthening of regional quality infrastructure programme in May, 2018. The interventions to be rolled out under the initiative are consistent with the bank’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development within its borrowing member countries.