Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce, George Hutson

Barbados’ national standards system will undergo a modernisation process to the tune of US$7.29 million.

The first step in this process took place yesterday when Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce, George Hutson and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Representative, Anneke Jessen, signed a loan agreement during a ceremony in the Ministry’s conference room, Reef Road, St Michael.

Government is providing US$2.29 million while the IDB will foot US$5 million.

Describing the venture as a priority for Government, Mr. Hutson said the project would strengthen Barbados’ National Standards Systems, upgrades to BNSI’s administrative areas, as well as its physical and technological infrastructure. 

In addition, the Minister of Trade said globalisation and trade liberalisation have heightened the need for countries to maintain high standards.

“Changing international conditions, deepening regional integration, and the need to improve the competitiveness of local goods and services have underlined the importance of maximising quality and efficiency in the application and administration of national standards.

Globalisation and trade liberalisation have highlighted the ever-increasing importance of the development and enforcement of standards to the country’s economic policies,” Mr. Hutson stressed.

Regarding the strengthening of the island’s standards system as important, he said emphasis would be placed on updating current models, identifying key sectors in the economy and providing the technical assistance that would ultimately guide trade negotiators in these areas.

As part of physical and technological infrastructural changes, Mr. Hutson said that administrative facilities would be constructed, along with a legal metrology laboratory equipped with the latest equipment for mass, volume, length, temperature and frequency testing.

“The benefits to be achieved by the implementation of the Barbados National Institution Project (BNIP) would include enhancing the competence and performance of the BNSI, improvement to our competiveness both regionally and internationally, strengthening existing mechanisms for the protection of consumers and the improvement of trade facilitation and market access.

From an economic point of view, the project will enable BNSI to offer product testing services, currently being provided from outside the region at great cost to local firms,” Mr. Huston declared.

The BNSI was established in 1973.

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