Quality is a prerequisite for successful market access and for improving the competitiveness of exporters. However, establishing and implementing quality management systems that meet the requirements of Export Quality Management Systems (EQMS) is a challenge for many exporters, especially in view of the proliferation of standards. Countries impose a growing number of standards to protect the health and safety of their citizens and to meet demands of buyers for their specific needs. This has been confirmed by research conducted by the International Trade Centre (ITC), which has found that most problems faced by exporters are a result of non-tariff measures due to technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
Ghana is no exception to this phenomenon and the Final Report on the “EU market access opportunities for Ghana and position for EPA negotiations” in 2004, indicated that tariff barriers on traditional raw exports to Europe did not represent a significant restriction since most major export products were zero rated, although some quantitative restrictions were in place that restricted growth in some non-traditional sectors and upstream-downstream groups of products or processes derived from the raw products were being taxed which restricted potential nontraditional or beneficiated product growth. However, the restriction in trade as a result of meeting Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements, implementing Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP); EurepGap – now Global-GAP (Good Agricultural Practices), and environmental-friendly standards such as the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) all significantly impacted negatively on the ability of companies to expand their export markets to Europe.
The report concluded that knowledge of the quality management system requirements and ability to implement the technical requirements of such systems presented significant restrictions to expand the export market to Europe.
Ghanaian companies intending to export their products need up-to-date information about the applicable technical requirements, both voluntary and mandatory, in their target markets. After obtaining this information, they have to adapt their products and processes to satisfy export market requirements and demonstrate compliance with them.
The focus of this ACP-TBT project is on capacity development of trainers and consultants (Service Providers) and of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the establishment and implementation of Export Quality Management Systems (EQMS) that satisfy the requirements of Ghanaian trading partners and to assist specified SMEs in system implementation for the purposes of achieving certification. In addition, the project will create a level of awareness for the initiation of a National Quality Award (NQA) programme for quality excellence with the objective of creating quality awareness and promoting quality excellence among enterprises in Ghana.