Mandate of TTBS
In accordance with the Standards Act No. 18 of 1997, the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) shall promote and encourage the development and maintenance of standards and further shall establish standards for the following: to improve goods produced or used in Trinidad and Tobago; to ensure industrial efficiency and development; to promote public and industrial welfare, health and safety; and to protect the environment.
What is a standard?
A standard is a document that provides technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used constantly as rules, guidelines or definitions of characteristics, to ensure materials, products, processes and services are fit for their intended purposes.
The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards develops standards through consultation with relevant interest groups, and public comment is invited on all draft standards before they are declared as Trinidad and Tobago Standards in accordance with the provisions of the Standards Act No. 18 of 1997.
Types of standards
TTBS develops two types of standards based on the principles of consensus, openness and transparency:
- Voluntary standards
- Compulsory standards
A voluntary standard is a document which can be used by stakeholders at their own discretion.
Stakeholders may choose to meet some or all the requirements on a standard in order to achieve objectives including:
- Improving processes, service delivery and production.
- Improve quality of goods
- Provide a basis for the acceptance or rejection of goods and services
- Improve environmental performance
A voluntary standard developed by TTBS does not have the force of law, i.e. it is not a mandatory document.
A Compulsory Standard is a declared national standard, which has been accorded compulsory status by the Minister of Trade and Industry, in accordance with Section 18 of the Standards Act No. 18 of 1997.
The criteria for recommending compulsory status include:
- Protecting the consumer or user against danger to health and safety
- Protecting public or industrial health, welfare or safety
- Protecting the environment
- Ensuring acceptable quality in products whether produced for home use or export
- Ensuring acceptable quality in any case where there is restriction in choice of source of supply
- Requiring adequate information to be given to the consumer or user
- Preventing fraud or misinterpretation arising from misleading advertising or labelling
A compulsory standard has the force of law, i.e. it is essentially a technical regulation or a mandatory document which is enforced by the Implementation Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards.
Manufacturers and importers are legally bound to comply with the requirements of compulsory standards.
TTBS performs various conformity assessment activities in order to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements of a compulsory standard. Penalties may apply if there is evidence of non-compliance.