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Major changes coming to BSJ

Published:Wednesday | July 22, 2015 | 7:06 PMChristopher Serju

The restructuring of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), to officially separate its regulatory functions from the other aspects of its operations - including the development of standards as well as certification - has begun.

This is in order to avoid a conflict of interest in the Bureau's different roles and bring it in line with dictates of the World Trade Organization (WTO), says Anthony Hylton, minister of industry, investment and commerce.

"It has to be compliant with our international obligations in being able to regulate the technical barrier for trade under the WTO," he shared with The Gleaner last Wednesday.

Hylton, who was guest speaker at the launch of the book 'Food Safety and Quality Systems in Developing Countries... Volume One: Export Challenges and Implementation Strategies' by Dr Andre Gordon, said Cabinet had recently approved the restructuring.

Hylton outlined some of the immediate changes at the facility which will continue to operate from its head office at 6 Winchester Avenue in St Andrew.

"We had to look at the different varying functions of the BSJ and activities it carried out and make them separate from the Bureau in its role as standard setter. The last remaining function was to recognise the potential conflict in its role as standard setter, as well as its role now as conformity assessor because it had to certify that certain processes conformed and so the regulatory aspect had to be separated."

The different arms of the BSJ will operate from separate offices on the same compound but with their own governance structures.

"This is what we call an interim measure as part of the separation process. Hopefully, later on down the road in about 18 months time we bring legislation to have that completely separate but now it's a physical move and also governance because it will have its own committee but also there will be shared corporate services," the industry minister told The Gleaner. "But in terms of its professional services those will be separate to allow for effective regulation under the WTO's technical barrier for trade."