PVoC service provider, on behalf of the importing country market
International trade is becoming increasingly complex. Countries are more frequently using technical barriers to trade (TBT) to control products entering their markets. In 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported only 388 TBTs, but that figure had risen to 3,337 per year by 2019.
Consumers want access to the latest products and will assume that any product made available to them is safe, of high quality and free of environmentally hazardous substances. The belief is that before a product can be placed on the market, the supplier must have demonstrated compliance with the defined standards.
Within its mandate, a government will use a variety of “non-tariff measures,” in the form of technical regulations, to protect its citizens and the environment. It could also introduce additional TBTs to protect other national interests, for example, national security, religious beliefs and local traditions. The objective is to ensure that the products placed on the market are not harmful to individuals, the environment and society.
The WTO has 164 members, representing 98% of world trade.[i] Members are required to adhere to specific WTO principles, rules and agreements established by the members themselves. One of the agreements is the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). This stipulates that a member’s economy must follow the principles set out in the agreement itself, whenever it engages in trade with another WTO member.
The TBT Agreement entered into force in its current form on January 1, 1995, along with the creation of the WTO. It is legally binding on all WTO members and contains provisions that ensure that technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. Through transparency, it seeks to create a predictable international trading environment.
At the same time, it recognizes the right of members to implement measures to achieve “legitimate” policy objectives, such as environmental protection and human health and safety. In pursuit of these “legitimate” objectives, each country is free to establish its own set of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, but Member States are strongly encouraged to base these measures on the standards. international.[ii]
Pre-export compliance verification (PVoC)
Many countries, especially developing countries, are now introducing import verification systems that require goods to be checked in the country of origin before export. This ensures that only compliant products will reach their borders.
Commonly referred to as Pre-Export Conformity Verification (PVoC) programs, these programs require the exporter to obtain a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) for their goods prior to shipment. Verification must be performed by a designated PVoC service provider who has been engaged by the product regulator of the importing country.
The process begins with the exporter providing “proof of compliance” to the designated PVoC service provider. These normally take the form of product test reports and certificates from an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory, quality management certificates, internal test reports, factory test certificates and other similar documents.
The accredited PVoC service provider, on behalf of the importing country’s market regulator, will then assess these documents to ensure that they meet the defined PVoC requirements. If they do not meet the required standard, the manufacturer is required to send their product for testing. If it then fails these tests, the manufacturer will be asked to take corrective action (if possible) or a report of non-compliance will be sent to the manufacturer and the market regulator. In this case, the goods will not be accepted at the border.
Goods that pass documentary assessment and/or product testing are then subject to shipment inspection. This independent inspection (conducted digitally or on-site) ensures that the goods shipped are the same as those which have been assessed/tested (for traceability) and verifies other important information such as labels and date markings. production/expiration, proper loading into drafts/containers, etc.
If the results of this inspection are not satisfactory, a non-compliance report is sent to the exporter and the importer. Without corrective actions, a CoC cannot be granted. However, if the shipment meets the necessary standards, the accredited certification company will issue a CoC and the exporter can start shipping the goods to the destination country.
This system has multiple advantages for exporters, importers, consumers and the target country.
For the country:
- Ensures that dangerous, substandard and counterfeit products are not imported
- Reduces the risk of their market becoming a dumping ground for non-compliant products
- Protects local producers from unfair competition
- Protects citizens and the environment
For businesses, this brings transparency and builds trust:
- Simplifies the customs clearance process
- Gives a competitive advantage
- Ensures that imported products can enter the country
- Guarantees good value for money
Builds confidence that the products they buy are safe and comply with relevant standards
Product Conformity Assessment (PCA) helps exporters operating in various countries including Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Kuwait , Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar. SGS product specialists review verification reports from lab tests, physical inspections, factory audits, and more. to ensure compliance with PVoC requirements. The company offers a one-stop-shop solution to help manufacturers and exporters operate successfully in complex markets around the world.
The SGS PCA service helps facilitate trade, protecting the interests of traders through expedited customs clearance that ensures products meet market requirements.
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