Conformity assessment reduces Destination Inspection

CONFORMITY assessment on export and import procedure has proved viable based on international agreements on international trade and the TBS Standards Act 2 of 2009.

The procedures are divided into two areas which are pre-shipment verification of conformity to standards (PVoC) or Destination Inspection (DI) and product certification.

TBS Director of Quality Management, Eng. Tumaini Mtitu, says PVoC is a conformity assessment process used to verify that imported products are in conformity with requirements of applicable standards before shipment to a destination country.

She says three contractors, namely Bureau Veritas of France, Intertek of United Kingdom and SGS of Switzerland implement the programme abroad on behalf of TBS, under a three-year contract secured under a rigorous tendering process.

The scheme, launched in February 2012, has reduced Destination Inspection whose implementation started in 1999 under the Batch Certification of Imports Regulation.

The programme’s objective is to ensure that all imports of regulated products comply with the approved Tanzanian technical regulations (for instance, Tanzanian or other approved international standards), prior to shipment, says Eng. Mtitu.

The Certificate of Conformity (CoC) issued by PVoC partners are proved for customs clearance.

The primary objective of applying the PVoC programme is to ensure quality of products, health and safety and environmental protection for Tanzanians as reflected in the scope of the regulated products.

Another goal is to minimise the risk of unsafe and substandard goods entering Tanzania through the execution of conformity assessment activities in the country of export.

This will help ensure that consumers are protected from unsafe and substandard goods, and that Tanzanian manufacturers are not subjected to unfair competition. Of importance, too, is to prohibit the entry of shoddy and counterfeit products.

The PVoC also facilitates the clearance process by eliminating problems caused by the verification performed on arrival at entry points.

“The guiding principle of the PVoC programme is based on Article 5 of Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT/WTO), which requires that technical requirements applied to foreign products must also be applied to domestically manufactured goods,” say Eng. Mtitu.

She says the PVoC certificate (CoC) confirms that the products comply with relevant Tanzanian technical regulations or approved standards.

Regulated product shipments can, she explains, can be exported through three routes depending upon the type of products, exporter and frequency of shipments.

The PVoC incorporates elements of conformity assessment, consignment inspection based on product risk assessment and product registration schemes.

Shipment inspection and certificate

Eng. Mtitu elaborates that under Route A, products to be shipped have to be both tested and physically inspected to demonstrate conformity to relevant standards, essential requirements or manufacturer’s specification.

She says this route is open to all products being exported by either traders or manufacturers.

Route B offers a fast track certification process for goods with reasonable and consistent levels of quality through registration of such products by the PVoC contractor.

According to the TBS Quality Management Director, product registration is recommended to exporters having frequent shipments of homogenous products. Self-declaration of compliance supported by substantiated evidence such as test reports and certificates. Registration is annually renewable.

Route C is open only to manufacturers who can demonstrate existence of a quality management system in their production or manufacturing process. It involves auditing of such production processes and licensing of products manufactured by authorised PVoC Contractor.

“This route is recommended for manufacturers that have high frequency or volumes of shipments,” Eng. Mtitu explains.

She says Destination Inspection can be carried out for consignment exempted from PVoC programme and consignment imported without Certificate of Conformity. The consignment is subjected to Destination Inspection after paying penalty of 15 per cent.

Product certification by TBS

Eng. Mtitu explains that exporters who wish to export to Tanzania may apply for TBS mark certification scheme. In this case TBS inspectors visit the factory for initial inspection and the exporter is granted with licence to use TBS quality mark upon compliance of physical inspection and test results of sample collected during the inspection.

The licence granted is valid for a year and is renewable upon compliance with certification procedures during the year in question.

For export procedures, TBS facilitates exporters by giving them certificate of conformity.

The benefits of the PVoC programme, according to Eng. Mtitu, include protecting the safety and health of consumers and the environment, removal of unfair competition caused by the influx of imported substandard goods and thus protecting local industries.

The PVoC programme has also enabled the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) speed up the removal of consignment at ports.

It has also played a key role in ensuring that Tanzania is not turned into a dumping ground of substandard products.

Since this programme was introduced in February 2012 up to August, this year, 60,562 consignments were inspected and issued with certificates of conformity while 495 consignments received non-conformity reports.