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Workshop On Conformity Assessment Opens   
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Mr Adu Darkwa, Executive Director of the Ghana Standards Board (GSB), on Tuesday noted that Ghana can be named among the most productive and competitive nations, if all players in trade and industry apply the principles and practices of Conformity Assessment in their daily transactions.

He said there was no doubt that ensuring a high degree of efficiency in the domestic and global economy, needed to foster competitive economic environment in all transactions with the outside world, had become a major challenge. Mr Darkwa was speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop aimed at creating awareness on the fundamentals and use of quality management systems standards for service providers and manufacturing industries in the public and private sectors in Accra.

The workshop was jointly organised by the GSB and the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) on the topic: "Conformity Assessment Infrastructure Supporting Trade." It has targeted about 60 participants from sectors including industry, government, trade regulators, standardization officials and conformity assessment providers in Ghana. He said conformity assessment provides the confidence needed by trade partners in transactions and therefore its absence would jeopardize global trade.

Mr Darkwa said the workshop would therefore equip participants with the requisite knowledge and understanding on the ISO Standards and Guidelines that set out the internationally agreed practice on Conformity Assessment activities. He said specific elaboration of the equipment and the implementation of Standards on Laboratories, Products Certification, Inspection Bodies and Managements Systems Certification would be discussed.

Mr Darkwa explained that the WTO's agreements, the Technical Barriers to Trade and the Sanitary and Phycosanitary Measures were established to ensure that Technical Regulations on Standards and the procedures for assessing conformity did not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. He said the two arrangements also recognized that developing countries should establish necessary infrastructure for application of Standards and Conformity Assessment procedures and to participate in international agreements in these fields.

"In line with all these we need to work towards a strong focus on Standards and Conformity Assessment as a sure way of making our operations more productive," he said. Mr Joseph C.T. Armah, Director of Standards, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), said Ghana's survival as a nation depended on the ability to integrate fully and effectively into the global economic system. He said conformity assessment procedures include acceptance of results through accreditation, peer assessment and mutual recognition agreements, taking into account the importance of quality in a global market situation.

It is also characterized by competition and a systematic reduction of tariff as well as non-tariff barriers, which are critical for Ghana to be competitive in the global market. "To survive in such an environment, we should be quality conscious and customer focused and also have the capacity to translate whatever comparative advantages we have into competitive advantages," Mr Armah said. He said it was in appreciation of the fact that MoTI was expanding resources to build capacity in order to align the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) with international best practices.

He said the Ministry was equally aware of the fact that maximum benefits of Conformity Assessment would be achieved only if there was cross-border co-operation among conformity assessment bodies and reliance on globally harmonized procedures. "In this regard, agreements among nations or regions based on the mutual acceptability of requirements, assessment methods, inspection and test results are critical, even though they may constitute a challenge to developing economies like Ghana," he said. Mr Armah said the participants were expected to assist their organizations to establish effective management systems that met the requirements of the relevant international standards and thereby enhance the quality image of the country.
Source: GNA

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