Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, believes to expand international trade, countries cannot underestimate the importance of adopting and implementing internationally recognized and accepted metrology, accreditation, standardization, and quality practices.
He was addressing the 34th Meeting of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) today, at the at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael.
Minister Sutherland also pointed out that these activities provided a vital link to global trade, market access and export competitiveness, as well as contribute to consumer confidence in product safety, quality, health and the environment.
Acknowledging that exporting globally was a very dynamic affair, Mr. Sutherland said regional economies doing so needed to continuously upgrade on new trade standards and acquire the capability to conform to the increasing number of new regulations, or question the validity of proposed regulations that they consider discriminatory, and put the region’s perspective strongly.
He added that the basic enabling environment for providing proof of compliance was the quality infrastructure, and he stressed if CARICOM countries wanted to attract foreign investments, they must keep in mind that infrastructure, including quality infrastructure, was one of the key pre-requisites which foreign investors considered.
“In the case of a national quality infrastructure (NQI), they must at the very least ensure access to international standards and technical regulations, guarantee reliable measurements, and set up a system that will allow accreditation of their testing and certification facilities in such a way that the results of these bodies will be internationally accepted,” he pointed out.
While he told regional delegates government was cognizant of the importance of the quality infrastructure to this country’s economic and social development, and by extension to the development of CARICOM Member States, Mr. Sutherland noted that Barbados’ NQI was not yet developed to the extent that it could be.
Assuring them that work had started, and for 2019-2020, the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and CROSQ would ensure its development as a policy initiative, he stressed: “Government considers this goal as urgent, and of very high priority, in our efforts to enhance the national competitiveness of our local micro-small and medium size (MSMEs) businesses, industries and the promotion of fair trade.”
According to him, a major implied objective of the proposed NQI policy is to improve the export competitiveness of Barbados’ goods, services and produce, and strengthen the capacity of MSME businesses and entrepreneurs to flourish and succeed locally, intra-regionally, and in extra-regional markets.
Emphasizing that the NQI policy would also serve to defend our domestic and regional borders from inferior, hazardous and illicit goods and services, he said that it was also government’s objective to use the application of the NQI to rebuild Barbados’ economy in a sustainable manner.