ARSO Documentation and Information Systems Network (ARSO DISNET) is an information Networks on standards, conformity assessment, technical regulations and the related activities related in Africa.
Approved for re-establishment by the 47th ARSO Council, ARSO DISNET has been established to be a “one-stop-shop” source of comprehensive information on standards-related measures (standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures) play a critical role in shaping the flow of international trade.
Broadly speaking, standards-related measures are documents and procedures that set out specific technical or other requirements for products or processes as well as procedures to ensure that these requirements are met. Among other things standards-related measures help:
- ensure the connectivity and compatibility of inputs sourced in different markets;
- manage the flow of product-relate d information through complex and increasingly global supply chains;
- organize manufacturing or other production processes around replicable routines and procedures to yield greater product quality assurance;
- achieve important regulatory and societal objectives, such as ensuring product
- safety, preventing deceptive practices, and protecting the environment; and
- promote more environmentally-sound or socially-conscious production methods.
Farms, particularly SMEs in Africa face significant challenges in accessing information about, and complying with, diverse and evolving technical requirements in major export markets. Standards-related measures play a vital role in enabling greater competition by conveying information to producers and consumers about the characteristics or performance of components and end products they purchase from a wide variety of suppliers.
Access to information on product-related technical requirements is critical for facilitating trade. Producers, growers, manufacturers, and other supply chain participants need to know the requirements with which their products must comply in order to sell them in prospective markets. It also contributes to increasing buyer-seller confidence, and assist SMEs to participate in global supply chains. For example:
- Obtaining information about the mandatory technical requirements and voluntary standards applicable in the importing country
- Adapting their products to meet these requirements
- Demonstrating that the products meet the relevant requirements
- Obtaining the necessary support at each step from the national quality infrastructure, which in many developing countries is not adequate.
The phrase “technical barriers to trade” refers to the use of the domestic regulatory process as a means of protecting domestic producers which seeks to assure that: (1) Mandatory product regulations, (2) Voluntary product standards, and (3) Conformity assessment procedures (procedures designed to test a product’s conformity with mandatory regulations or voluntary standards) do not become unnecessary obstacles to international trade and are not employed to obstruct trade.
Many companies and businesses in Africa require information on comparative prices and depend on reliable, fast, and low-cost access to reliable market information, including information on the credit worthiness of potential clients.
Information is essential to facilitate efficient market outcomes, and lack of readily available information at reasonable cost will hamper market efficiency as a result of high or hidden trade transaction costs.
How will it be implemented?
– Deploying Web portal and high capacity server at the ARSO Central Secretariat to enable for the management of the electronic databases on the standards-related measures (standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures, quality control, certification and metrology activities) and trade information.
– Providing a user interface and referencing/linkages to the various relevant available information sources including NSBs
– Electronic networking that enables inputs into the web portal from Members through controlled access. Identifying and linking to the best international sources on standards and technical regulation Information.
– Establishing closer links with the ARSO member States and other ARSO DISNET members to enable the collection and access to different sources of data for the participating members and relevant networks.
– Sensitization Workshops and Seminars for awareness creation on the importance of standards-related measures (standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures) in shaping the flow of international trade.
– the personnel manning National Information Centres on information management and dissemination best practices for the benefit of the web portal.
– training of both the regulatory authorities and the industry on the obligations and benefits under the TBT Agreement
– training for awareness creation of industries to effectively respond to WTO notifications distributed to them by the National Enquiry Points.
– Training selected NEP staff in regulatory Impact Assessment