Move to improve quality of goods and services
Thursday, August 22 2013
The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards must be the group that connects the country with quality goods and services. This was the view held at the opening ceremony at the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) Conference hosted yesterday by the Bureau at the Hyatt Recency, Port-of-Span.
“The Bureau has been working assiduously to improve the quality of goods and services produced. It is the invisible process working for the competitiveness and sustainable development of our country, thereby contributing to the quality of life of every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago,” said acting Trade Minister Dr Rupert Griffith.
The Bureau, a statutory agency, is part of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment. It is responsible for ensuring that consumers receive quality goods and services, both local and imported. Its functions include the development of national standards and it verifies that manufacturers comply with these standards by testing goods and services. However, it does not cover foods, drugs and cosmetics.
Because of the increased recognition of the Bureau’s accreditation service, Griffith said the expansion of certification services for products, improvement of locally produced goods through testing and calibration services and the international recognition of laboratory services has become possible.
Dr Puran Bridgemohan, the Bureau’s chairman, agreed with Griffith and said by improving and standardising the quality of service in the country, international trade would be improved as well.
He said the processes employed at the Bureau “can be used to promote export, increase export diversification and reduce international technical barriers to trade.”
Deryck Omar, executive director of the Bureau, lamented the amount of complaints citizens have about products, both imported and exported. He said many people tout that they produce quality products, but they and the consumer do not have the same view on quality.
“The challenge faced in Trinidad and Tobago is that the abstract term ‘quality’ needs to be defined nationally to make it tangible to us. We as a country need to define our requirements for quality – quality in goods and services produced or used in our market and exports,” he said.
The IAAC is a cooperation of accreditation, certification, registration and inspection bodies that test and calibrate laboratories and other interested bodies whose objectives are to facilitate commercial exchange among the countries of the region.
The conference will discuss the impact of quality and accreditation for national development. Among its objectives are the promotion of quality infrastructure in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and to demonstrate the importance of measurement assurance to assist in establishing quality and competence.
Topics to be discussed include quality infrastructure – the what, how and why of it; national quality infrastructure in TT’s development; good regulatory practice for national development; good regulatory practice in health; technical regulations in trade; international recognition – its benefits and applications; developments and future activities of accreditation in Europe; and developments in the Pacific-Asia Cooperation.