BORACAY, PHILIPPINES – The Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS) hosted the 49th ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ) – Working Group on Standards (WG 1) Meeting and its related events on 08 to 12 May 2023 in Boracay, Malay, Aklan.
The WG 1 Meeting proper held last 11-12 May 2023 was attended by the following ASEAN Member States (AMS): Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Viet Nam, along with the ASEAN Secretariat. Representatives from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) also joined the meeting during specific agenda items.
The Philippine Delegation was led by BPS Director Neil P. Catajay together with representatives from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), Department of Agriculture (DA) - Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) - Bureau of Research and Standards (BRS), DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), and other strategic partners as observers.
During the opening ceremony, DTI Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo and ACCSQ-WG 1 Chair Ms. Chin Kesar from Cambodia provided the welcome messages to the delegates.
"We recognize that ASEAN efforts on harmonization of standards and mutual recognition arrangements is one of the key activities to establish ASEAN as highly integrated, cohesive, competitive, innovative and dynamic region as it facilitates free flow of goods across the region," underscored Usec. Castelo.
The AMS, along with the ASEAN Secretariat, discussed numerous agenda items during the meeting including the updating of the ASEAN Guidelines for Harmonization of Standards; harmonization of standards including for new areas; technical assistance and capacity building programmes; cooperation between National Standardization Bodies (NSBs) in ASEAN; and Sub-Sectoral Work Plan 2016-2025, among others.
WG 1 assists the ACCSQ in facilitating the reduction of technical barriers to trade through harmonization of standards. As such, it develops, monitors and reviews policies and strategies for harmonization of standards in ASEAN, such as harmonization of AMS’ national standards with relevant international standards.
On 10 May 2023, prior to the WG 1 Meeting, the Philippines, through Engr. Ma. Teresita Del Rosario, Chief of the Standards Development Division (SDD) of the DTI-BPS, chaired the 20th Meeting of the Task Force on Wood-Based Products (TFWBP). The Philippine Delegation was led by Engr. Myra Magabilin of DTI-BPS together with Engr. Rheychelle Jean Pidoc of DTI-BPS, Dr. Rico Cabangon of DOST-FPRDI, DA-BAFS, PCA, NTC, and DPWH-BRS.
The AMS discussed the list of standards on wood-based products for WG 1's harmonization. The Philippines, for its part, shared updates on the standardization activities in ISO/TC 296 - Bamboo and Rattan and proposed to include the following published standards in the list of standards for harmonization by WG 1: 1) ISO 5946:2022 Bamboo-based activated carbon – General specifications; 2) ISO 21629-2:2022 Bamboo floorings — Part 1: Outdoor use; and 3) ISO 23067:2022 Grading system for rattan – Requirements and Classification.
The TFWBP assists the ACCSQ-WG 1 in addressing the Technical Barriers to Trade for wood-based products sector to support trade facilitation initiatives towards the realization of the ASEAN single market and production base.
Lastly, the WG 1-PTB Planning Workshop and Exchange on the Standards Information Repository, organized by PTB and supported by DTI-BPS, was held last 08-09 May 2023, back-to-back with the 49th ACCSQ-WG 1 Meeting and the 20th TFWBP Meeting. During the workshop, AMS representatives and PTB discussed the lessons learned from Phase III of the ASEAN-PTB Project “Strengthening Quality Infrastructure in ASEAN, 2023-2026” and prepared for the Phase IV implementation of the project.
The DTI-BPS functions as the Philippines’ lead agency to the ACCSQ. As lead, the DTI-BPS represents the country in the programs and events of the ACCSQ Leaders on standards and conformity assessment procedures and coordinates with other government agencies and the private sector involved in the activities of the Working Groups (WGs) and Product Working Groups (PWGs) under the ACCSQ including the WG 1.
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