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Under the Standards Alliance program, work has been carried out by Ms. Diane Thompson, Principal Standards Advisor, to develop action plans to improve the effectiveness of the Enquiry Points and Notification Authorities required under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). This technical assistance engages all five EAC countries and the following SADC countries: Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia.

In December, 2015 Ms. Thompson traveled to Zambia and Lesotho to implement the action plans. A similar trip to Malawi is planned for early 2016. In Lusaka, Zambia, Ms. Thompson met with staff of the Zambia Bureau of Standards and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to discuss the three tasks of the action plan: improving the WTO TBT Enquiry Point and Notification Authority, communication with stakeholders, and promotion. On-site training requested by the participants focused on TBT notifications, procedures, resources, reporting, and participation in TBT Committee meetings. Two notifications were processed as part of the on-site training, a significant development as Zambia had not submitted any notifications under the TBT Agreement since 2007.

In Maseru, Lesotho, Ms. Thompson met with staff of the Department of Standards and Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to discuss the action plan for Lesotho. On-site training requested by the participants addressed the following topics: transparency, TBT notifications, resources, record-keeping, reporting, procedures, coordination between the TBT and SPS Enquiry Points and the Notification Authority, communications, the role of the private sector, promotion, monitoring the impact and effectiveness of the Enquiry Point, sustainability, and charging for standards.