Standards Authority Air On Conformity Assessment Programme

Importers PixThe Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) says the recently launched Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme (GCAP) is designed to ensure that specific products meet the requirements of the Technical Regulations and Standards set in the importing country but not to impose new fees on importers and create problems for them.

Clearing the air on some misconceptions about the GCAP, in a statement issued in Accra yesterday, the GSA said, the programme was also to ensure that sub-standard products are prevented from entering the country.

It had been in the news, since the programme was launched, that the GSA was introducing its own pre-shipment inspection rules to impose new fees on importers and create problems for their businesses.

But the Authority said: “While these claims are untrue, the GSA wishes to assure all importers that it will not embark on any action to make life uncomfortable for them.”

The programme, the statement said, aims at preventing the importation of unsafe, sub-standard or counterfeit goods; protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as the environment; and avoiding a situation where the domestic market becoming a dumping ground for non-conforming products.

“It is also geared towards promoting the use of honest trade practices and protects the interests of local producers; facilitating the customs clearance process; and also ensuring that the importer and the Government of Ghana do not pay anything for this service but that it is the supplier/exporter that does,” it said.

The GSA said under the programme, it was the responsibility of the supplier/exporter to demonstrate that his/her goods were in compliance, adding “this is achieved as a result of a review of reports from one or a combination of interventions such as laboratory testing, physical inspection and factory audits.”

“The conformity of the product,” the statement said, “is evidenced by the issuance of a Certificate of Conformity usually requested for custom clearance. Under the programme, the quality verification is done in the exporting country. This reduces delay in the process and ensures the swift clearance of goods at the points of entry.”

The GSA said fees to be paid under the Conformity Assessment Programme, such as Verification and Registration Fees, would be charged on the supplier of the product, not the importer, saying “his means that the importer will not pay for this service.”

According to the Authority, exporters and importers were responsible for ensuring that their products and shipments fully comply with the GSA Verification of Conformity to Standards Programme to be known as Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme and must obtain the mandatory Certificate of Conformity (COC).

“This means that importers in Ghana are expected to ensure that their Suppliers understand the import quality requirements and that their consignments are accompanied by a GSA Certificate of Conformity from one of the authorised GSA Service Providers,” it said.

Similarly, the GSA said exporters to Ghana were also to ensure that their products or goods meet the regulations and quality requirements of the GSA Verification of Conformity to Standards Programme before shipment by obtaining all necessary Certificate of Conformity from an authorised GSA provider for all products subject to the Ghana Conformity Assessment Programe, which takes effect from October 1, 2014.

“The system is networked in such a way that any issues arising from misunderstandings, delays, if any, etc is resolved immediately,” the Authority said.

The statement said GCAP was being carried out in line with WTO provisions which required “us under Article five (5) that we come out with procedures for Assessment of Conformity for recognition by other countries just as we are also required under Article six (6) to recognise Conformity Assessment by other Central Government Bodies.”

“Also, the Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme is not the same as Pre-shipment Inspection. The difference is that under pre-shipment inspection the valuation, classification and quantities of the consignment are done by the pre-shipment companies on behalf of government, but under the GCAP all imports are expected to conform to our Technical Regulations and Standards,” it concluded.



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