Our Role in Protecting Vanuatu’s Future
The Vanuatu Bureau of Standards or VBS for short, is a body corporate under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB). Its functions are directed by the Standards Act. Currently the Food Technology Development Centre and Analytical Unit is housing this organisation however, in the near future its functions will be separated from the FTDCAU.
As a member of the World Trade Organisation, Vanuatu has an obligation to implement the Technical Barrier to Trade Agreement (TBTA). This Agreement ensures that “any technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures do not constitute a technical barrier.” At the same time “it seeks to achieve a balance between allowing Members to take regulatory measures to protect legitimate interests, and assures that technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures do not become unnecessary obstacles to international trade.”
On the 22nd July of 2016 Vanuatu submitted its obligation to implement and administer the TBTA as required under Article 15.2 of the Agreement. By virtue of this Article, Vanuatu, through the Vanuatu Bureau of Standards must ensure that all Standards adopted and made mandatory must genuinely be for the protection of “legitimate interests” and not discriminatory to the point where it creates an unnecessary obstacle to international trade.
The VBS’s main role is to ensure that Vanuatu’s trade in both services and goods conforms to international standards. To do this, it will have to know what standards are currently being used in the country, who the regulators are and lastly how these standards are monitored and enforced and verified.