There are two types of standards as defined by the WTO-TBTA: Voluntary standards and Technical Regulations. Standards usually form the basis for technical regulations. Technical regulations are mandatory and can be the basis for legislation. In Vanuatu, majority of the standards are incorporated into legislation and are therefore mandatory.
The VBS’S main role is to promote and facilitate the standardisation process through the development and adoption of standards created by international, regional or national standards bodies. At the same time it will act as a depository for all standards. It will also be the Enquiry point for the WTO to report the development and enforcement of all standards.
Standards form the guidelines for quality product manufacturing and the management of processes. Conformity to Standards can be assessed against the requirements listed in the Standard. Assessment can be carried through laboratory testing and the verification of the management system used to control the manufacturing processes.
Products and or processes meeting the requirements of the standard can then be certified and a standard mark can then be carried on the label. Certification will be checked at regular intervals to ensure that the product or process has maintained the standard.
Metrology is the science of measurement. Its purpose in the national quality infrastructure is for consumer protection. All measuring instruments must be accurate as possible since the inaccuracy of the measuring instrument can mean the loss of revenue or income for either the business or the consumer.
There are two distinct divisions within metrology:
- Legal metrology:
This concerns fair weights and measures. It is referred to as legal metrology as these are the agreed weights and measures that are regulated. A country can decide on the units of measurement that it wants to regulate. Verification of the accuracy of measuring instruments is therefore very important as it has a direct impact on the revenue of a country.
- Physical metrology:
These are units of measure that are not regulated but are commonly used by certain businesses or trades only. The accuracy of these units of measure are also essential to trade for the same reasons as mentioned in the previous paragraph.