Quality Infrastructure and Conformity Assessment

Quality Infrastructure (QI) includes standardisation, accreditation, conformity assessment (such as certification and testing services), and metrology. It is a prerequisite for the participation in international trade, product traceability, environmental and health protection, product compatibility, and supports consumer and supplier confidence in products. Expanding global trade, increasing economic integration, and growing awareness of quality issues on the part of consumers, trade participants and legislators are placing ever-increasing demands on the quality of goods, services and processes. Product quality is therefore a key competitive factor and an adequate QI to improve it is crucial for any modern economy. However, many developing countries and emerging economies do not have a functioning QI. Conformity assessment measures in QI include implementing certification, inspection and testing, advising industrial laboratories, and providing initial and continuing training for technical and laboratory staff. Quality management, at individual company level, but also within partner organisations, including chambers of trade and industry and patent authorities, the promotion of the introduction of quality management systems for process orientation and sustainable management is indispensable.

Benefits of a functioning QI and conformity assessment systems: –

  1. Create a vital basis for participation in international trade, the disassembling of non-tariff trade barriers, and access to international markets in the framework of the global harmonization processes of standards and norms.
  2. Provide an effective means of improving market transparency on both the supply and the demand side, boosting efficiency and driving down transaction costs, and facilitating product and service compatibility.
  3. Fulfill important protection functions for consumers and stakeholders in relation to the trade in goods, food quality, accident prevention, and consumer protection.
  4. Creates the precondition for improving the quality and environmental sustainability of industrial manufacturing processes and of products as well as for enhancing the resource efficiency.

Standards Vs Technical Regulations

What is a Standard…it is a technical document detailing the criteria necessary to ensure that a material, product, service or produce is fit for the purpose it is intended for. Standards served as a guide for production of goods and provision of services and are a basis for trade transactions.

Technically a standard is a document established by consensus and approved by recognized body that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities of their results aimed at the achievement of optimum degree of order in a given context.

So what is a Technical Regulation?

A regulation in its simplest is a document providing binding legislative rules that is adopted by a designed authority of the government.

A Technical Regulation is therefore a Regulation that provides technical requirements, either directly or by referring to or incorporating the content of a standard, technical specification or code of practice.

It is a document that lays down product characteristics or their related processes and production methods including the applicable administrative provisions, with which compliance is mandatory (WTO).

It is a document adopted by an authority that provides a binding technical requirements either directly or by referencing or incorporating the context of a standards, technical specification or code of practice (ISO/IEC).

Technical Regulations are basically the way legislation is enforced and the requirements of the legislation. It may include or deal exclusively with terminology, symbols, and packaging, marking or labeling requirements as they apply to a product, process or production method.

Technical References (TR) are transition documents developed to help meet urgent industry demand for specifications or requirements on a particular product, process or service in an area where there is an absence of reference standards.


  1. Standards should be based on the consolidation results of science, technology and experiences and aimed at the promotion of optimum community benefits
  2. A Technical Regulation may be supplemented by technical guidance that outlines some means of compliance with requirements of the regulation.

In conclusion when a standard is declared mandatory it becomes a technical regulation.