The private sector in Tanzania has called for expedited harmonisation of standards among East African countries to ease trade between member states and increase trade volumes.
Tanzania Private Sector director for membership service Louis Accaro said that they have been pushing for harmonisation of standards between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya for many years and they will continue to do so to benefit traders from all countries.
He was speaking during the official launch of Intertek Pre-shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC) agreement between the British company and Tanzania Bureau of Standards in Dar es Salaam this week.
“Without harmonising standards between the three countries and later on among all member states, trade will not grow,” Mr Accaro said.
“We believe the main problem towards achieving that end is personal interests amongst traders themselves,” he added.
Earlier, Intertek’s government and trade service regional manager Douglas Nyamori said the company supports the harmonisation of standards.
“This is a matter of policy. It is a decision that has to be reached by the bureaus of standards of the member states, and we understand that there are ongoing talks on the matter,” Mr Nyamori said.
Talks have been ongoing towards integrating PVoC and issuance of certificates of compliance but progress has been slow.
EABC notes that although partner states have done a great job on harmonising several standards, many more are yet to be harmonised.
Compliance with standards and market requirements are prerequisites for successful market access and improving the competitiveness of exporters in the region.
Mr Accaro said that some traders have been trying to stall efforts to harmonise standards for fear of competition yet once standards are set there will be increased trade.
“The truth of the matter is that without harmonisation of standards there will be no growth,” he said.