SA hosts international standard bodies in ISO assembly

September 16th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

South Africa will host a total 114 National Standards Bodies (NSBs) when they gather at the 42nd General Assembly of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set to get underway from 15 to 20 September 2019.

The influence of standards on global economic trade relations will be under discussion at the assembly which kicks off in Cape Town. The week-long assembly will see 600 people from around the world discussing various standards related issues.

Speaking ahead of the assembly, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) acting chief executive officer Garth Strachan said the standards development process is critical for efficient economies.

“The standards development process is critical for efficient economies and every country that interacts on a global scale needs to be active in standards setting bodies and forums, where the development of standards can influence the nature of trade and impact the use of resources,” he said. “Being an active member at standards setting platforms creates opportunities to ensure that technical specifications do not inhibit trade, discriminate against communities and restricts access to trade,” Strachan added.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995 promulgated the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement to ensure that technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. The agreement encourages all WTO members to base their trade on international standards, as a means to facilitate trade.

The SABS is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry and plays an important role in international standardisation. In addition to being the enquiry point for the WTO/TBT agreement, SABS participates in various councils and committees in the following organisations:

  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO),
  • African Organization for Standardization (ARSO),
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC),
  • Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC),
  • African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC),
  • Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Standards (SADCSTAN).

Contact SABS, Tel 086 127-7227,

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