The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) through its public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Standards Alliance, organized a two-part training series on textile and apparel standards in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire in March. The training series was organized in collaboration with Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA), which supports West African textiles and apparel manufacturers in reaching international markets.
More than 100 people attended the workshops collectively, representing national standards bodies, testing labs, small and medium-sized textile/apparel manufacturers, designers, training and education facilities, ministries of trade and commerce, and sector-relevant associations. The participants learned more about the U.S. standards system and the role of voluntary consensus standards in the U.S. market.
With better insights on the standardization system, attendees were able to envision how conforming to relevant standards can help demonstrate the quality of their products to U.S. companies and consumers.
Three U.S. technical experts were on hand from the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and Bureau Veritas to present on standard testing methods for textile and apparel to support exports to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a preferential trade agreement between the U.S. and qualifying sub Saharan African countries.
EAA has successfully helped companies in Benin and Ghana send the first shipment containers of textiles/apparel under AGOA to the United States.
West Africa is a hub for cotton and raw material production, which presents the opportunity for multiple levels of product transformation. To date, a few West African factories specialize in converting these raw materials into garments and textile products for export. EAA hopes to close this production gap and to support the creation of quality textile products in West Africa. The training helped to demonstrate the testing methods used to convey quality in the U.S. market.
The training agenda included the following test methods:
- AATCC TM135, TM150, and TM158 for Dimensional Change
- AATCC EP1, EP2, EP8, EP7, and EP12 for Color Evaluation
- AATCC TM8, TM116, TM61, TM132, TM15, and TM107 for Colorfastness
- AATCC TM112 and TM206 for Free Formaldehyde
- ASTM D5034, D1424, D2261, and D1683 for Fabric and Seam Strength
Additionally, local presentations were made by national standards bodies (the Ghana Standards Authority and CODINORM), USAID representatives and experts on AGOA, EAA, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), and an Ivorian textiles expert and representative to the Technical Committee on the Harmonization of African Standards.
About the Standards Alliance and Trade Africa
The Standards Alliance was announced by USAID in November 2012 as a new funding facility designed to provide capacity-building assistance to developing countries, specifically related to implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. The main objectives of the program include: increased understanding of WTO TBT principles; implementation of the Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards; improved transparency in the development and/or modification of technical regulations; and more robust and transparent engagement with the private sector in standards development and use.
Trade Africa is a partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa to increase continental and regional trade within Africa, and to expand trade and economic ties among the Unites States, Africa, and other global markets. In 2016, the Trade Africa Initiative expanded to involve new partners, including Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, and Zambia. In support of Trade Africa, the Standards Alliance partnered with Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal to improve compliance with the WTO rules on trade facilitation and technical barriers to trade.
For more information on the Standards Alliance and for information on how to get involved in Standards Alliance activities with West Africa, visit the Standards Alliance web page.