UNIDO empowers Sierra Leone’s trading sector on TBT Agreement, international best practices

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Participants and officials at the training pose for photo

By Alhaji Haruna Sani

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), with financial support from the European Union (EU), has collaborated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to organize five-day training for stakeholders in Sierra Leone’s trading sector.

The training, facilitated through the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), is aimed at enhancing participants’ understanding of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, TBT Committee transparency procedures, international best practices, and the ePing SPS&TBT platform.

Hussain Shaukat, Chief Technical Advisor at UNIDO Sierra Leone, welcomed over thirty participants from various key entities, including the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry of Agriculture, Produce Monitoring Board (PMB), Sierra Leone Standard Bureau (SLSB), Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), Pharmacy Board Sierra Leone, and private merchants.

In his address, Shaukat emphasized the crucial need for the training, recognizing the importance of overcoming technical trade barriers and fostering international standards.

He set the stage for a comprehensive and knowledge-sharing seminar that would enable participants to navigate the complexities of the global trading system effectively.

Mario Caivano, representative from the EU expressed gratitude to UNIDO and its partners for organizing the technical training course.

He highlighted the EU’s commitment to promoting international standards and facilitating global trade, emphasizing the significance of adhering to these standards for product quality, safety, and building trust among trading partners.

Caivano acknowledged the progress made in establishing the National Notification Authority and urged the establishment of functional Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures-gateway (SPS) national reports.

He expressed hope that the training would contribute to these structures’ establishment and hinted at potential EU support for such initiatives under the new business environment and competitiveness program in Sierra Leone.

The Chief Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Emmanuel Konjoh, congratulated participants on their selection and stressed the importance of the training in preempting future trade regulations.

He highlighted the risks associated with failing to meet international standards in the trading system and urged participants to maximize the opportunity to enhance Sierra Leone’s business landscape.

The training, scheduled from March 4 to March 9, 2024, is expected to equip participants with knowledge and skills crucial for navigating the evolving global trade environment and promoting Sierra Leone’s competitiveness on the international stage.  

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