THE Standards Association of Zimbabwe (Saz) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Congolese Control Office (Office Congolais de Control – OCC) which should benefit exporters. <
The MoU, which was signed on May 31 in Harare, covers cooperation in five key areas.
The areas include standardisation, conformity assessment and accreditation, information exchange, training in standardisation and quality assurance, and representation at regional/international standardization fora.
Saz director general Maureen Mutasa said the MoU would contribute to each country’s socio-economic development.
She said Saz and OCC’s activities played a pivotal role in the enhancement of the standard of life of communities through the assurance of the quality of products traded between the two countries.
“Of particular interest to the Zimbabwean exporters to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the MoU facilitates easy trade as it allows for recognition of the two organisation’s certification marks upon adoption of a harmonised scheme based on International Standards Organisation (ISO) guides/standards for the certification of products manufactured and traded between the two countries,” a Saz official said.
“This means that locally certified products being exported to the DRC would not need to be resettled to gain entry into that country. Furthermore, Saz and the OCC agreed to apply uniform standards and procedures for the inspection and testing of goods traded between the two countries so that the results may be more easily interpreted and coordinated.”
He said the cooperation between the DRC and Zimbabwe covered many areas, one of which was trade.
In an effort to realise a sustainable increase in the flow of trade and investment between Zimbabwe and the DRC, the two countries’ governments signed a trade agreement in August 2002.
However, this agreement has not really benefited Zimbabweans as they claim that their counterparts do not pay for services on time.
“Due to the importance of standardisation and quality assurance in the facilitation and promotion of trade, Article 12 was included in the trade agreement,” the official said. “Article 12 is on harmonisation of standards, quality control, metrology measures and tests.”
He said having been advised of the trade agreement by the Ministry of Industry and International Trade in September 2002, the Saz contacted its counterparts in OCC in October 2002.
This was then followed by a visit to Zimbabwe by an OCC delegation in 2003 on a familiarisation tour.
A meeting to discuss the modalities of cooperation was held between the two organisations on May 27.
This resulted in the MoU which was subsequently signed at a ceremony held in Harare on May 31.