Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.
The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) is mandated to establish and monitor standards requirements for labeling, packaging, metrology, and consumer protection. All locally manufactured goods and imported goods must adhere to minimum standards for products to be legally traded and sold on the Belize market. The BBS manages a standards catalogue that is publicly available. It also prepares an annual standards work plan, which is submitted to the World Trade Organization, https://bbs.gov.bz/standardization/standards-work-program. The BBS generally consults with local stakeholders prior to enacting or implementing standards.
Standards are primarily driven by public sector with the support by regional and international standard setting organizations alongside public demand and the private sector. Belize follows Good Standardization Practices per Annex 3 – Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards of the WTO TBT Agreement. In the spirit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy, most of the standards adopted/adapted at the national level are based on regional standards for food and non-food commodities. The BBS utilizes ASTM standards, particularly for fuels, lubricants, and LPG. The Bureau has a longstanding relationship with ASTM International under a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) since 2009. In 2021, the BBS signed an MOU with Underwriters Laboratories to formalize their working relationship and outline their efforts in elevating the standards system in Belize. Belize currently has 35 standards, related mainly to labelling, as well as the agriculture and food, transportation, and tourism industries.
Testing, Inspection and Certification
Products (food and non-food) are subject to compliance to technical requirements which can be demonstrated through the submission of relevant conformity assessment documents such as test reports or certificates of conformity. Testing is limited except for food and fuels (diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, and liquified petroleum gas (LPG).
BAHA is responsible for food safety, quarantine services, and plant and animal health inspections to facilitate trade and commerce. It assesses, monitors, and manages the issuance and approvals of import permits for phyto-sanitary and zoo-sanitary certificates. These permits are issued when importers and exporters seek to trade meats, animals (including livestock), plants, seeds, and seedlings of plants.
BAHA also assists with the establishment and implementation of certification programs, including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Standard Sanitary Operating Procedures (SSOP), and conducts Risk Analysis and Inspection for food safety purposes.
Belize has no accredited testing laboratories, however, BAHA and the Citrus Research and Education Institute (CREI), a private laboratory facility, are both seeking international accreditation. In spite of not having product testing capability and resource limitations, the BBS is interested in developing Mutual Recognition Arrangements with trading partners.
Publication of Technical Regulations
The BBS publishes notifications on new requirements for product standards in the Belize Gazette. As part of the standards development process, the Bureau of Standards is required to submit standards for public comments. There is no rule that prevents external participation, and the BBS has, in the development of national standards, utilized expertise not available in Belize. Inquiries and comments related to standards and technical regulations can be made to Belize’s TBT Enquiry Point at email@example.com. Comments can be submitted on any proposed standards intended for compulsory implementation. Belize is required to notify technical regulations to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Central Registry so that U.S. entities, alongside all of Belize’s trading partners, can comment on national standards of interest. New regulations were enacted in 2021 related to the registration and permits for the importation of biodegradable and compostable products.
Managing Director, Belize Agricultural Health Authority, Corner of Hummingbird Highway and Forest Drive, Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize. Tel: 011-501-822-0197 or 011-501-822-0271. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Website: https://baha.org.bz/.
Points of contact at the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan are:
Andrea De Arment
Chief of the Political/Economic Section
4 Floral Park Road
Use ePing to review proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures
The ePing SPS&TBT platform (https://epingalert.org/), or “ePing”, provides access to notifications made by WTO Members under the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed by the WTO from January 16, 1995 to present. ePing is available to all stakeholders free of charge and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts. Use it to browse notifications on past as well as new draft and updated product regulations, food safety and animal and plant health standards and regulations, find information on trade concerns discussed in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees, locate information on SPS/TBT Enquiry Points and notification authorities, and to follow and review current and past notifications concerning regulatory actions on products, packaging, labeling, food safety and animal and plant health measures in markets of interest.
Notify U.S., operated and maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 2003 to distribute and provide access to notifications (and associated draft texts) made under the WTO TBT Agreement for US stakeholders, has reached its end of life. Per obligation under the TBT Agreement, each WTO Member operates a national TBT (and an SPS) Enquiry Point. National TBT Enquiry Points are authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points, which are NOT part of the WTO or the WTO Secretariat. All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, or U.S. government agencies on notifications to the WTO TBT Committee should be sent directly to the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point. Refer to the comment guidance at https://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/guidance/guidance.cfm for further information.