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Standards Conclave 2015 Role of Standards in International Trade and use as Non-Tariff Measures Challenges and Opportunities
 
 
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Standards Conclave 2015, jointly organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 21-22 May,2015 at New Delhi.

According to Mr. Keshav Desiraju, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, comprehensive amendments to the BIS Act are being undertaken to improve the standards regime in India. Mr. Desiraju was addressing the Standards Conclave 2015 - Role of Standards in International Trade: Challenges, Opportunities and Issues being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India in New Delhi.

The Secretary stated that mandatory certification amendment was being considered in the revised Act. He stated that BIS has set and developed standards in over 19000 cases. These have evolved and only 122 are mandatory. 800 or so are voluntary and have been accepted by manufacturers from a trade point of view. 

The revised act will help strengthen the government’s ability and authority to mandate standards. He stated that it was also necessary for industry to sensitise members to adopt voluntary standards. There were more than 17500 cases where no licenses have been issued. He felt that it was crucial for Indian industry to look at these standards and adopt these standards. 

According to Mr. Rajeev Kher, Commerce Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry quality plays an important role in consumer protection and has been made into a national mission with the adoption of “zero effect, zero defect” as a part of the Make in India campaign. For exporters, it adds greater value and improves product competitiveness. 

The Commerce Secretary stated that there were some challenges. The first was to convince stakeholders of the importance of standards. He pointed out that even with the government there were some disagreements. The Commerce Secretary stated that a there was a need to set up an institute which comprises of technical persons and policy makers that would look at building capacity on standards and bring various stakeholders under one platform. 

He stated that there was a need to learn from all our trading partners and develop a technical standards eco-system in the country. He also called for the development of standards in services sectors as it would help establish Indian services in the global market. 

Addressing the participants, Mr. Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Quality Council of India, said that standards can help to improve quality of lives of Indian citizens. He pointed out that 15 years ago, automobile manufacturing in India was not known for its quality. Now it is one of the largest exporters thanks largely due to adoption of voluntary quality standards. Similarly, India has achieved excellent quality standards in generic medicine. Private players in healthcare sector have been accredited with world class standards. He felt that another area of focus is agriculture which employs large number of players. 

In his address Mr. Sumit Mazumder, President, CII, said that India is aspiring to become a manufacturing hub, in line with Prime Minister Modi’s priority. To achieve this goal, there is a need to ensure strong quality compliance. This will help India’s companies join Global Value Chains (GVCs), reduce information asymmetry as well as reduce overall transaction cost. There is a need to improve India’s technical regulatory standards to the help Indian companies access global markets. 

Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII stated that in a low tariff regime, the focus has now shifted to Non-Tariff Barrierrs (NTBs) including standards. On one hand, it can help improve the quality of goods but it also act as a barrier to trade. With the initiation of the Make in India campaign, standards and related measures have become significant and Indian Industry needs to prepare the challenges of high standards. 

Mr. Ajit Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India stressed the importance of a strong standards ecosystem under the ‘Make in India’ campaign. He said that it is important for Indian manufacturers to comply with the right standards to export value added products and for India to become a manufacturing hub. The Cabinet Secretary was addressing the Standards Conclave 2015, jointly organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Cabinet Secretary noted that India’s standards regime is at a nascent stage with low awareness and adoption. This provides the opportunity to build a progressive and futuristic standards eco system, including standards in services. He directed the Department of Commerce to prepare a time-bound action plan in four weeks to stress the urgency of reforms in the area.

Earlier, Mr. Rajeev Kher, Commerce Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, noted that the big takeaway from the event is for all the government agencies to work towards creating a standards ecosystem around the relevant products with identified tasks. He said that the standards agenda now has political endorsement but industry must take ownership and drive it further.

Mr. Kher also noted that a Standards Training Institute is getting materialised. The technical institute will involve multiple stakeholders from the government as well as industry. The institute will be a step in the right direction in effectively taking forward the standards agenda. Mr. Kher also stressed the importance of hastening the services standards agenda given the very important part it plays in the economy and in improving efficiency of the manufacturing sector.

Mr. G Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, noted the various legislative reforms to modernise the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 1986 and the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The comprehensive reforms have been approved by a group of ministers and will now be tabled in Parliament. The reforms are intended to improve the ease of doing business, bring greater coherence with international standards and make the mandatory standards broader, among other reforms, he said. The reforms in the Consumer Protection Act includes the introduction of Product Liability that will support the new standards ecosystem, he added. Although a ‘Standards Vision 2020’ document that had been recommended by a panel during the conclave, would be a good idea, he stressed the need to get down to action immediately by identifying certain products in certain sectors on a priority basis.

Mr. Anil Jauhri, CEO, NABCB, provided a summary of the deliberations and noted the way forward on technical barriers to trade (TBT) issues. He raised the importance of private standards in the market. Mr. S. Dave, Director, APEDA and Former Chairman, Codex Alimentarius, enumerated 20 action points for the government and 9 for the industry towards achieving higher standards and building capacity at all governmental levels. Mr. M J Joseph, Former DG, BIS, during his summary on services standards highlighted the low level of development as well as adoption of standards in the sector.

Chairing the session, Mr. J.S. Deepak, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry noted that the Standards conclave has received support from all the stakeholders in government, industry and civil society.

The Conclave saw the participation of over 400 participants over the two days and involved all the major stakeholders, including, brought together BIS, Export Inspection Council, NABCB, FSSAI, APEDA, NABH and the National Skills Development Corporation. The Government plans on an advocacy drive to take the standards agenda forward at the state and local level. 

Mr. Ajit Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India stressed the importance of a strong standards ecosystem under the ‘Make in India’ campaign. He said that it is important for Indian manufacturers to comply with the right standards to export value added products and for India to become a manufacturing hub. The Cabinet Secretary was addressing the Standards Conclave 2015.

The Cabinet Secretary noted that India’s standards regime is at a nascent stage with low awareness and adoption. This provides the opportunity to build a progressive and futuristic standards eco system, including standards in services. He directed the Department of Commerce to prepare a time-bound action plan in four weeks to stress the urgency of reforms in the area.

Earlier, Mr. Rajeev Kher, Commerce Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, noted that the big takeaway from the event is for all the government agencies to work towards creating a standards ecosystem around the relevant products with identified tasks. He said that the standards agenda now has political endorsement but industry must take ownership and drive it further.

Mr. Kher also noted that a Standards Training Institute is getting materialised. The technical institute will involve multiple stakeholders from the government as well as industry. The institute will be a step in the right direction in effectively taking forward the standards agenda. Mr. Kher also stressed the importance of hastening the services standards agenda given the very important part it plays in the economy and in improving efficiency of the manufacturing sector.

Mr. G Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, noted the various legislative reforms to modernise the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 1986 and the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The comprehensive reforms have been approved by a group of ministers and will now be tabled in Parliament. The reforms are intended to improve the ease of doing business, bring greater coherence with international standards and make the mandatory standards broader, among other reforms, he said. The reforms in the Consumer Protection Act includes the introduction of Product Liability that will support the new standards ecosystem, he added. Although a ‘Standards Vision 2020’ document that had been recommended by a panel during the conclave, would be a good idea, he stressed the need to get down to action immediately by identifying certain products in certain sectors on a priority basis.

Mr. Anil Jauhri, CEO, NABCB, provided a summary of the deliberations and noted the way forward on technical barriers to trade (TBT) issues. He raised the importance of private standards in the market. Mr. S. Dave, Director, APEDA and Former Chairman, Codex Alimentarius, enumerated 20 action points for the government and 9 for the industry towards achieving higher standards and building capacity at all governmental levels. Mr. M J Joseph, Former DG, BIS, during his summary on services standards highlighted the low level of development as well as adoption of standards in the sector.

Chairing the session, Mr. J.S. Deepak, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry noted that the Standards conclave has received support from all the stakeholders in government, industry and civil society.

 

The Conclave saw the participation of over 400 participants over the two days and involved all the major stakeholders, including, brought together BIS, Export Inspection Council, NABCB, FSSAI, APEDA, NABH and the National Skills Development Corporation. The Government plans on an advocacy drive to take the standards agenda forward at the state and local level. 

Knowledge Resources
You will get access to following Knowledge Resources by subscribing to the Digital Library of this event.
 
A Strong Standards Ecosystem is vital for ‘Make in India’: Cabinet Secretary
India Heading Towards Adoption of Higher Standards
CII's journey in the field of standards - An introduction by Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII
Keynote Address by Mr. Sumit Mazumder, President, CII, at the inaugural session of the “Standards Conclave 2015”
Theme address by Mr. Rajeev Kher, Secretary, Department of Commerce at the inaugural session of the “Standards Conclave 2015”
Keynote address by Mr. Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Quality Council of India at the inaugural session of the “Standards Conclave 2015”
Inaugural address by Mr. Keshav Desiraju, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs at the inaugural session of the “Standards Conclave 2015”
Launch of Book “Globalization of Legal Services and Regulatory Reforms: Perspective and Dynamics from India” at the inaugural session of the “Standards Conclave 2015”
Standards Conclave 2015 - wrap up by Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII
Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, addressing at the session on “Role of standards in the context of emerging international scenario”
International Perspective on Developments under TPP and TTIP & Training Institute on Standards
Addressing Non-Tariff measures in RTAs-case for India
Capacity Building Initiative for Trade Development in India (CITD)
Capacity Building of Industries in Developing Countries to Meet Standards Regime
The UN Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS)
Compliance to Evolving Trade Standards
An open house discussion on “Role of standards in the context of emerging international scenario”
Mr. S. Dave, Director, APEDA and Former Chairman, Codex Alimentarius, addressing at the session on “Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary Measures/Technical Barriers to Trade”
Harmonization with International Standards in Industrial Goods and Role of Standards in “Make In India” Program
Reorganizing Quality Infrastructure in India
Role of Standards in Promoting International Trade: Dairy Sector
Industry Perspective: Standards & Voluntary Compliance
European SDoC System-Key Learnings
An open house discussion on “Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary Measures/Technical Barriers to Trade”
Closing remarks by Prof. Abhijit Das, Head, Centre for WTO Studies, at the session on “Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary Measures/Technical Barriers to Trade”
Mr. Harsha V. Singh, Former DDG, WTO, addressing at the session on “Negotiations Strategy for product annexures to SPS chapter in preferential trade agreements”
Mr. R.S. Seshadri, General Secretary, (AIREA), addressing at the session on “Negotiations Strategy for Product Annexures to SPS Chapter in Preferential Trade Agreements”
SPS Chapter in PTAs-Negotiation Strategy for Product Annexures
Buffalo Meat Export Industry – An Industry of National Importance
Standards in International Trade in Plantation Crops (Tea, Coffee, Spices & Rubber)
Negotiations Strategy and Trade Barriers Specific to Non-Industrial Goods: EIC Experiences
An open house discussion on “Negotiations Strategy for Product Annexures to SPS Chapter in Preferential Trade Agreements”
Closing remarks by Mr. Harsha V. Singh, Former DDG, WTO, at the session on “Negotiations Strategy for Product Annexures to SPS Chapter in Preferential Trade Agreements”
Mr. Rajan Sudesh Ratna, Economic Affairs Officer, UN ESCAP, addressing at the session on “Negotiations Strategy for Product Annexures to TBT Chapter in Preferential Trade Agreements”
Indian Industry Experiences on Complying with EU’s REACH Regulation
Impact of Technical Standards on Indian Engineering Sector
Dr. P. Nayak, Secretary, Textile Committee, Ministry of Textiles, addressing at the session on “Negotiations Strategy for Product Annexures to TBT Chapter in Preferential Trade Agreements”
An open house discussion on “Negotiations Strategy for Product Annexures to TBT Chapter in Preferential Trade Agreements”
Closing remarks by Mr. Rajan Sudesh Ratna, Economic Affairs Officer, UN ESCAP, at the session on “Negotiations Strategy for Product Annexures to TBT Chapter in Preferential Trade Agreements”
Mr. R. P. Singh, Secretary General, QCI, addressing at the session on “Service Standards”
Standards in Services Trade: Preliminary Thoughts
Utilizing Market Access Commitments in India’s Services FTAs: Role of Standards
Role of BIS in Developing Voluntary Service Standards
Promoting Quality in Services - A Suggested Strategy
Engineering Services-Role of Washington Accord
An open house discussion on “Service Standards”
Mr. M J Joseph, Former DG, BIS, addressing at the session on “Service Standards”
Role of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
Export of Educational Service-Role of Standards
Role of Standards in International Trade and use as Non-Tariff Measures Challenges, Opportunities & Issues
Role of Standards in International Trade (Healthcare Sector)
Standards & Indian Skills Exports-Case Study with respect to South East Asia, UAE & Canada
An open house discussion on “Service Standards” I
Mr. G. Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, addressing at the session on “Recent Sectoral Experience in Regulation”
Technical Regulations for Steel Industry-Experiences and Lessons
Regulation of Petroleum and Natural Gas Sector Experiences and Lessons
Regulations in Food Sector-Experiences & Lessons
An open house discussion on “Recent Sectoral Experience in Regulation”
Closing remarks by Mr. G. Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, at the session on “Recent Sectoral Experience in Regulation”
Mr. J. S. Deepak, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, addressing at the session on “Way Forward”
Way Forward with Reference to TBT
Mr. M J Joseph, Former DG, BIS, addressing at the session on “Way Forward”
Mr. G. Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, addressing at the session on “Way Forward”
Mr. Rajeev Kher, Secretary, Department of Commerce, addressing at the session on “Way Forward”
Mr. Ajit Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Govt. of India, addressing at the session on “Way Forward”
Vote of thanks by Mr. J. S. Deepak, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, at the session on “Way Forward”
 
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