The Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) held a two-day workshop in Gaborone from June 8th to 9th, at the Grand Palm Hotel. The objectives of the workshop included raising awareness of the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement on technical barriers to trade (TBT) in enabling global market access for Botswana exporters, and an outline of the European Union (EU) TBT regulatory framework for placing goods on the EU market. This includes the conformity assessment requirements and procedures necessary to demonstrate regulatory compliance for EU market access.
The workshop was opened by Mr Obonye Lopang; Acting Director, Standards at BOBS. In his opening remarks Mr Lopang stressed the importance of the WTO TBT agreement in facilitating trade, noting that it was at the core of the multi-lateral trading system. Mr Lopang also noted the obligation of WTO Members to notify other WTO Members of any changes in technical regulations and standards that may have an impact on trade, in order to ensure that traders and exporters can take measures to ensure compliance with new regulations and avoid incurring costs from non-compliance. BOBS is the designated authority for operation of the WTO TBT Enquiry Point in Botswana.
The participants included representatives from Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI), Botswana Investment & Trade Centre (BITC), Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), Department of Plant Protection (DPP), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BoMRA), Business Botswana as well as Botswana Exporters & Manufacturers Association (BEMA).
The workshop was supported by the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation Support Programme; this is a 4-year programme launched in March 2020 with the objective to boost Botswana’s capacity for trade to realise the full benefits of the EPA between the EU and SADC. The programme’s goals include the promotion of export-led economic diversification and growth, increased foreign direct investment and improved employment in targeted value chains with a potential to strengthen women’s economic empowerment.