Regional and international organizations for trade agreements include the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the South African Development Community (SADC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), African Regional Organization for Standardization (ARSO) and East African Community (EAC)
Although a member of all these regional organizations, the DRC has lagged behind other countries in applying uniform standards. The DRC’s standards and conformity assessment regime has been undermined by a lack of updated standards law, resources to enforce standards, and trained personnel. DRC standards, testing, labeling, and certification requirements have little impact on U.S. exports to the DRC.
The Ministry of Foreign Trade is responsible for standards and conformity assessments. The Congolese Control Office (OCC), an ISO member agency, is responsible for developing standards and performing conformity assessments on exports and imports, operating under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce. The Ministry of Mines maintains its own standards and certification organization, the Centre d’Expertise, d’Evaluation et de Certification (CEEC), which is charged with the certification of gold and diamonds. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal and Vegetable Quarantine Service (SQAV) is responsible for the application of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures on animal and plant products in the DRC. SQAV has a staff composed of veterinary doctors, agronomic engineers, technical engineers, and other experts. SQAV is one of several public agencies that conduct inspections at national borders, including the OCC, DGDA and the Directorate General of Migration (DGM).
The DRC primarily relies on the “Codex Alimentarius” for food standards. The Codex is applied to imports, but not to exports because of lack of adequate equipment in the OCC lab. In practice, however, most imports are admitted into the country without the need to meet specific standards. As a result of frequent political interference, the OCC is often unable to fulfill its mission as agricultural watchdog.
Testing, Inspection and Certification
The Office Congolais de Contrôle (OCC) carries out quality, quantity, and conformity checks of all goods, analyzes of all samples and products, and technical inspections of all equipment and works. It may carry out any operation whatsoever relating directly or indirectly to its legal activity, except for buying for resale. The OCC is a member of the SADC regional Accreditation Association (SADCAS), which is accredited by the International Laboratories Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). The OCC is also the national metrology, standardization, and certification body responsible for protecting consumers by promoting interaction between consumers and producers in accordance with Congolese legislation.
Publication of Technical Regulations
The OCC sets standards, not regulations, for commercial entities. When a business seeks a specific standard to use in its activity, the OCC requires the payment of a set fee for the issuance of that standard. The OCC also has all quotations for the payment of national and international standards. The National Committee of Standardization, reporting to the Ministry of Foreign Trade, has the authority to propose regulations and standards for export and import goods, to follow-up on their enforcement, and to report all discrepancies for improvement. The Ministry of Foreign Trade has the prerogative to pass the draft regulation and standards by ministerial decree.
- Mrs. Sondji Bokabo, OCC, Director of Standardization Department, Tel: +243 991056330, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Mr. Kanama Viki Mbuya, OCC, President of the Congolese Association of Laboratories, Tel: +243 815082006.
- Mr. Kituba Jacques, OCC, Director of the Metrology and Control Department, Avenue des Inflammables Kinshasa, Kingabwa, B.P. 8614 Kinshasa 1, Fax: +243 818127177, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.