The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Southern African Trade Hub to carry out the "U.S.-Southern African Development Community Exchange on Good Regulatory Practice (GRP)." An activity of the ANSI-USAID Standards Alliance, the exchange took place June 1-2, 2015, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Standards Alliance is a funding facility that provides capacity building assistance to developing countries specifically related to the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. Currently, the Standards Alliance engages 10 partner countries or regions, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The exchange engaged the SADC entities responsible for regional work on standards and technical regulations. The SADC Cooperation in Standardization (SADCSTAN) promotes coordination on standards activities in the region with the goal of harmonizing standards to support trade and development. The SADC Technical Regulations Liaison Committee (SADCTRLC) is responsible for identifying, preventing, and eliminating TBTs through harmonized texts, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures.
ANSI, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and the Trade Hub met with the SADC Executive Committee in November 2013 as part of the Standards Alliance joint assessment for the SADC region. An exchange on GRP was included in the Standards Alliance SADC work plan as a means of supporting a new cooperation agreement between SADCSTAN and SADCTRLC. Related ANSI articles discuss other recent work plan activities carried out through in cooperation with the Trade Hub.
Each SADC entity sent one representative from each of the 15 SADC member countries to the exchange, for a total of approximately 30 participants. SADCSTAN participants were largely from national standards bodies, while SADCTRLC participants were largely regulators. The U.S. delegation to the workshop included representatives from USTR, the Office of Management and Budget - Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB-OIRA), ANSI, ASTM International, Caterpillar, and the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.
Littleton Tazewell , USAID deputy mission director at USAID/Southern Africa, provided opening remarks for the exchange. Presentations addressed various aspects of GRP, including regulatory impact assessment, public consultation, scientific and evidence-based rulemaking, the relationship between standards and technical regulations, and regulatory cooperation. The SADC Secretariat provided overall facilitation of the event, including discussion of how to carry forward insights gained through the dialogue.