JIS News

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan has called on the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), to explore adopting a standards management system, tailored for micro enterprises.
He said the need for such a system is critical, as Small Island Developing States are largely dominated by micro businesses that do not have the level of specialisation nor human resources to implement an ISO 9001 system.
“Yet, those businesses are expected to produce the same standard and quality and export to the European Union (EU), for example, and compete with large transnational corporations. If CROSQ is going to be relevant to us, it must develop, adapt and adopt standards that are applicable to the vast majority of micro enterprises that dominate the small island states of CARICOM,” he asserted.
Mr. Budhan was addressing the opening of the 17th CROSQ Council Meeting at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, today (October 19).
The Permanent Secretary pointed out that even while the Ministry continues to encourage businesses to be ISO certified, it faces the challenge of small enterprises being able to meet these standards, because of their size.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary noted the increasing loss of preferential treatment and competition that developing economies face, and that in light of this, CARICOM nations must focus on increasing the competitiveness of their export sectors, through improved products, enhanced service, economic efficiency and greater standardisation.
He said it is now imperative that CARICOM engage other nations in the global economic arena. “The European Partnership Agreement, for example, gives regional manufacturers and service providers access to some 27 markets of the EU. Conversely, their products will also have access to our markets. It is incumbent on exporters to be capable of satisfying technical and quality requirements of their customers abroad, as well as the health and safety and environmental rules of the importing nations,” Mr. Budhan emphasised.
He argued that quality requirements, which are essential to trade, are usually embodied in standards, and that exporters can derive great benefits from obtaining ISO certification, including increased market share; more profit margins; significantly reduce documentation; improve organisation efficiency and reduce cost incurred by conformity assessment procedures that are necessary to enter new markets.
Chairman of CROSQ, Dianne Lalla-Rodrigues said that the face of global trade is changing, with the intensive and extensive movements of persons and goods and services, and that this is further enhanced by the various trade agreements that CARICOM has signed with developed nations. In most cases, she noted, these nations have fully developed regulatory and business systems.
Mrs. Rodrigues said these systems have become increasingly important as tariffs are eroded and developing nations are faced with the task of building their own systems with very limited human and financial resources, even as governments face serious challenges in maintaining their revenue streams.”CROSQ is one of the region’s responses to these challenges in building crucial business support systems and regulatory systems,” she noted.
The Organisation’s mandate is the establishment and harmonisation of standards to enhance the efficiency and improve quality in the production of goods and services in CARICOM, to protect the consumer and the environment, and to improve trade within the Community and with other states.

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