JOHANNESBURG– Barriers to trade will be under the spotlight at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) annual meetings to be hosted by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (dti) next week.

The 33rd Annual Meetings of SADC Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Co-operation Structures will take place at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, 26 kilometres east of here. The week-long deliberations will commence on Sunday with workshops and committee meetings which are expected to lay the framework for the continued implementation of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade.

The Protocol aims to progressively eliminate unnecessary technical barriers to trade among the 15 nations of the SADC and between the SADC other regional and international trading blocks and promote an infrastructure for quality.

“In July 2014, the SADC Committee of Ministers of Trade approved a revised Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Extension. This then led to the formation of a formal framework wherein cooperation among regulators, stakeholders and the national institutions for standardisation, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology can take place, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said here Thursday.

SADC member nations will be be represented at the meetings by officials with expertise in the standards, accreditation, technical regulations, metrology and the legal metrology fields. The meetings coincide with South Africa’s Chairpersonship of the SADC Council of Ministers, which commenced on Aug 17, 2017.

The week’s deliberations will build up to a SADC Annual Quality Awards dinner which will take place on Wednesday. The awards will recognize companies from SADC member countries for their robust use and implementation of standards and quality procedures in their operations that have positively contributed to the growth of their businesses.