The ability to participate in global trade depends increasingly on compliance with quality standards and technical regulations of export markets. The inability to demonstrate compliance with these standards and regulations often translates into significant technical barriers to trade.
While IT and connectivity – "clicks" – offer great trade potential, basic quality infrastructure – "bricks" – is still essential to market access. A well-functioning and reliable quality infrastructure system – consisting of standardization, metrology, testing, quality management, certification and accreditation – is increasingly becoming a sine-qua-non for trade. Yet, this basic support system is not always available or fully-functional in developing countries. In consequence, SMEs either incur high costs and lengthy procedures to acquire the necessary services abroad or are prevented altogether from exporting. Therefore, the development of an internationally recognized quality infrastructure is crucial for a country wanting to connect to global value chains.
The event discussed adapted solutions to a countries’ specific needs that do not require every country to establish and maintain a full-fledged quality infrastructure. It presented existing offers of technical assistance for quality infrastructure within the framework of the Aid for Trade initiative and highlighted the options and possibilities for countries looking to lay the necessary “bricks” for trade.
This event was part of the WTO Global Aid for Trade Review 2017.