Malawi, as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), designated the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) as the WTO-TBT National Enquiry Point (NEP). Therefore if someone wants to know what standards, technical regulations, or conformity assessment procedures are needed in a certain country where they want to send their products, the MBS, as a National Enquiry Point, is there to facilitate acquisition of such kind of information.
Article 10.7 of the TBT agreement demands that all the WTO members are required to be as transparent as possible on issues relating to standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures. Therefore you can be guaranteed that the NEP will give you correct, up to date and accurate information of your intended businesses in a timely manner. In this respect the MBS as NEP is there to ensure that manufacturers, importers and exporters in Malawi get the latest information on standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures available in their target markets.
The National Enquiry Point has the following as some of its specific functions;
- Handling all enquiries on standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures concerned with TBT agreement from other WTO members.
- Receiving notifications from WTO secretariat on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures adopted or proposed by other WTO members
- Requesting information for interested parties in Malawi from foreign enquiry points
- Providing foreign enquiry points, upon request, with copies of documents related to Malawi notifications.
From the foregoing, it is evident that it is of paramount importance for the business community in Malawi to utilise this resource to smoothen their trade processes as far as standards, conformity assessment procedures, and technical regulations are concerned. Some of the benefits the business community will get from the NEP include the following;
- Identify standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures applicable to their products in target markets;
- Improve competitiveness in local markets;
- Given opportunity to comment on technical regulations that may affect their trade;
- Promote trade facilitation by providing national exporters and importers with information on technical requirements from WTO member countries.