Kebs boss calls for adoption of international standards to end trade barriers
Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has called for adoption of international standards among World Trade Organisations (WTO) member states and harmonisation of regional standards.
Acting Managing director Esther Ngari said adoption and harmonisation is important in eliminating existing technical barriers to trade (TBTs) that affect international trade. She noted that challenges posed by deviations in TBT provisions have rippled through the fabric of the economy, impacting businesses, entrepreneurs, and, ultimately, the end consumers.
Ngari was speaking to Journalists on the sidelines of the WTO-TBT training at a Mombasa hotel.
Beyond the local impact, Ngari who is also the Director of Standards Development and International Trade at Kebs was concerned that the deviations have also cast shadows of doubt among international trade partners, underscoring the need for swift and effective interventions “You understand that we trade in various goods, some which we manufacture in our country and some which come into our country as imports…especially Kenya being an agricultural country, we export various agricultural products into other countries,” she said.
Ngari noted that if the destination has restrictions on the products that are being produced within the country, for example the flower industry or the horticultural products, it means then local traders will not be able to export.
“Therefore, international standards are very key to ensure that our products are accepted without any technical barriers that will affect the trade,” she said. When a country introduces a new measure, Ngari stated, it is imperative that the country notify all the WTO members so that members can pick it up for relevant action.