CROSQ and Regional Standards
The CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) was established by an Intergovernmental Agreement signed by CARICOM Member States on February 4th, 2002. It replaced the CARICOM Common Market Standards Council (CCMSC) that was operating since 1976. The change was motivated by trade liberalization and globalization of markets leading to increased international competition for CARICOM goods, the free trade of goods and services within the region, the inability of the CCMSC to handle issues outside of its original terms of reference and increased consumer awareness and choices.
A major facet of CROSQ’s mandate is to harmonize and foster implementation of regional technical regulations and standards to greater facilitate interregional trade and to protect the consumer, the process for which is coordinated by the National Standards Body (NSB) of each member of CROSQ. The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards is the Trinidad and Tobago representative at CROSQ.
The CROSQ Secretariat currently resides in Barbados and is managed by the Chief Executive Officer under the governance of the Council, which comprises the Directors/Executive Directors of the NSBs. The technical work of CROSQ is facilitated by the Technical Management Committee.
There are currently forty two standards on the CROSQ work programme, nine of which are compulsory. Thirty four of the standards are to fulfill the objective of the project undertaken by CROSQ entitled “Promoting Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Competitiveness in the Caribbean through Technical Standards”. This project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is being executed through the CROSQ Secretariat as the central hub and the National Standards Bodies in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago as the sub-executing agencies. The main objective of the project is to boost the competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Caribbean through the use of regional standards.
The other eight standards on the work programme include Specification for Labelling of Goods (General Principles), Specification for Labelling of Prepackaged Goods and specification for Labelling of Aerosol Insecticides. These standards mentioned will become compulsory regional standards and be enforceable by the NSB or other regulatory authority in the CROSQ Member States, after they have been adopted through the legal and administrative standards process.