Standards boost for Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, July 30, 2008 – Barbados’ national standards system will undergo a modernisation process to the tune of US$7.29 million.

The first step in this process has taken place with the signing of a loan agreement by Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce, George Hutson, and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Representative, Anneke Jessen.

Government is providing US$2.29 million while the IDB will foot US$5 million of the bill.

Minister Hutson said the need for countries to maintain high standards s being underscored by globalisation and trade liberalisation.

“Changing international conditions, deepening regional integration, and the need to improve the competitiveness of local goods and services have underlined the importance of maximising quality and efficiency in the application and administration of national standards,” he said.

“Globalisation and trade liberalisation have highlighted the ever-increasing importance of the development and enforcement of standards to the country’s economic policies.”

Describing the venture as a priority for government, Mr Hutson said the project would strengthen Barbados’ National Standards Systems, upgrades to the Barbados National Standards Institution’s (BNSI) administrative areas, as well as its physical and technological infrastructure. 

He said emphasis would be placed on updating current models, identifying key sectors in the economy and providing the technical assistance that would ultimately guide trade negotiators in these areas.

As part of physical and technological infrastructural changes, administrative facilities would be constructed, along with a legal metrology laboratory equipped with the latest equipment for mass, volume, length, temperature and frequency testing.

“The benefits to be achieved by the implementation of the Barbados National Institution Project (BNIP) would include enhancing the competence and performance of the BNSI, improvement to our competiveness both regionally and internationally, strengthening existing mechanisms for the protection of consumers and the improvement of trade facilitation and market access,” the Minister said.

“From an economic point of view, the project will enable BNSI to offer product testing services, currently being provided from outside the region at great cost to local firms.”