BSI launches Commonwealth Standards Network

April 16, 2018

New membership association will facilitate trade amongst Commonwealth states

BSI, the UK National Standards Body, in partnership with the Department for International Trade and Department for International Development, has today launched the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN). Announced by the Prime Minister at the Commonwealth Business Forum this morning, the UK Government will provide funding over the next two years for the new initiative, which has been launched to tackle non-tariff barriers and promote stronger trade amongst all Commonwealth states.

The CSN is a platform for Commonwealth countries to exchange ideas, share best practice and impart knowledge. Its key aim will be to facilitate trade and foster innovation across the Commonwealth through the increased use of international standards. A series of programmes will build the capacity of Commonwealth states to adopt international standards, while also increasing their role in international standards development. The programmes include extensive training and the delivery of a standards toolkit for all participating Commonwealth states.

Standards play an important role in promoting productivity and efficiency, reducing costs, removing barriers to trade, and driving economic growth. As such, the network will be especially relevant to those members that are less economically developed, looking to boost their export capabilities through the use of standards. The programmes delivered in these countries will include training in the use of standards and onsite technical assistance programmes, through funding from the Department for International Development.

The CSN will begin work immediately by identifying a suite of the top international standards that will support the members’ development objectives. Rather than creating new standards, it will promote the use of existing international standards to strengthen trade.

Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at BSI, said: “The launch of the Commonwealth Standards Network will strengthen the economic performance of the member states through closer cooperation in the use of international standards, which increase competitiveness, support social responsibility and provide a ‘passport to trade’. We welcome the support of the UK government to make this happen.

“Independent research in 2015 found that 41% of SMEs and 36% of large companies in the UK are more likely to export if they use industry standards. We want to help companies throughout the Commonwealth to become more competitive and economically successful. Using standards brings growth.”


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