Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha says it is important for Zimbabwe to safeguard against sub-standard products being imported into the country.
The Minister is leading a delegation undertaking a familiarisation tour of Bureau Veritas (BV) laboratories and offices in Shanghai, China and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. BV is the French company contracted by Government to assess the quality and standards of imports at their source, before they reach Zimbabwe.
The move is aimed at protecting consumers and the environment from sub-standard products, provide for fair competition and fight against counterfeits.
The offices and laboratories being visited by Dr Bimha and his team are part of the vast network used by BV to provide verification services under what is known as the Consignment Based Conformity Assessment Programme (CBCA).
Speaking from Dubai, Dr Bimha said it was critical to get first-hand knowledge of the processes involved in order to better appreciate how the measures put in place by Government are being implemented in the countries of export.
“As you are aware, we are in the process of establishing the Zimbabwe Quality Standards Regulatory Authority, which will have the mandate to regulate the quality of products entering into, produced in and exported from Zimbabwe,” Dr Bimha said.
“This visit helps us to appreciate the work that the authority will be faced with. It is imperative that, as a country, we put in place sustainable measures to safeguard ourselves from sub-standard products that come in as imports.”
While the process of establishing the ZQSRA is being finalised, BV services will be used as an interim measure to plug current gaps.
Dr Bimha’s delegation includes the Zimbabwe Trade Attaché in the People’s Republic of China, Dr Mavis Sibanda, principal director in the Office of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ms N Muleya and director for Multilateral Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Hamadziripi.
In Shanghai the delegation met with the BV vice president for Government Services and International Trade (Asia Pacific Region), Ms Doris Mok and visited two BV laboratories. These were the LCIE laboratory for testing electrical and electronics equipment and the Consumer Product Services laboratory for testing textiles, toys and hardline.
Broadly, BV offers an extensive range of specialised testing services for a full range of products including hard goods, toys and juvenile products, soft goods, footwear, electrical and electronic products, automotive, health, food, beauty and household products among others.