Pacific nations keen to improve the quality of goods and services and facilitate market access for their products put standards and measurement systems under the spotlight earlier this month as part of the Pacific Islands Forum’s Pacific Quality Infrastructure (PQI) Initiative.
Pacific trade and marketing officials met virtually with key implementing partners Standards Australia and Australia’s National Measurement Institute (NMIA), who are supporting the PQI implementation. Their support will include mentoring, capacity building, and the establishment of regional committees with the aim of developing and harmonizing standards and measurement and testing capabilities across the Pacific region.
The PQI Initiative focuses on strengthening quality infrastructure in the Pacific. A major first step in providing quality goods and services to markets is to introduce international best practices in developing and adopting standards towards the end goal of increasing trade competitiveness for all Pacific economies. The PQI Initiative will also deliver training in measurement and testing techniques and facilitate access to internationally recognized calibration and testing services.
These activities will be complemented by quality promotion to raise awareness of the importance of quality infrastructure to the production of goods and services that satisfy safety, environmental, and market demands.
“The PQI Initiative leverages the Pacific region’s strengths in collaborating as small island economies to address common challenges,” says Zarak Khan, director of programs and initiatives at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). “Despite our distance from other regions, the Pacific Islands collectively have an abundance of unique products and services to offer the world, and this initiative will help facilitate access to global markets.
“We are pleased to have strong endorsement from all Forum Islands ministers, as well as a robust group of partners including Standards Australia and the National Measurement Institute, Australia, to help us achieve our goals of people-centered development,” Khan adds.
“As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia has a longstanding history of engagement with our Pacific neighbors,” says Adrian O’Connell, CEO at Standards Australia. “Standards Australia is pleased to be reinforcing this collaboration under the PQI Initiative.
“Standards are essential in supporting and enhancing both national and regional safety and quality. We commend the Pacific Islands Forum for reigniting this important work and for partnering not just with Standards Australia but other members of the Australian Technical Infrastructure Alliance,” O’Connell concludes.
“NMIA is pleased to support the PQI project as an implementation partner, together with Standards Australia,” says NMIA’s CEO, Dr. Bruce Warrington. “We look forward to working with our Pacific partners and PIFS on this important initiative to help reduce barriers to trade and increase regional economic resilience.”
NMIA is a division of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources. With a staged approach to address the various pillars of quality infrastructure, the first-year PQI project will focus on standardization, quality promotion, metrology, and testing.