Supporting the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure for cooperation on standardisation, conformity assessment and product safety

Project description

Title: Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure for cooperation on matters of standardisation, conformity assessment and product safety
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Country: India
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution of the Republic of India (MoCAF&PD)
Overall term: 2014 to 2016

Context

During the Indo-German intergovernmental consultations in Berlin in April 2013, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Indian Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (MoCAF&PD) agreed to set up the bilateral Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure for cooperation on matters of standardisation, conformity assessment and product safety. These three areas are key components of quality infrastructure, ensuring the quality and safety of products and services, promoting consumer protection and facilitating international trade. Both countries consider a well functioning quality infrastructure to be essential to their national economic development. At the German end, bilateral trade is characterised by exports of machinery, electro-technology, metal goods, chemicals, cars and automotive components. India's main exports to Germany are textiles, chemical products, electro-technology, metal products, leather goods and foods.

Objective

The Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure has established itself as a central information platform and a specialist dialogue forum for improving the general conditions for bilateral trade.

Approach

The Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure promotes bilateral economic and technical cooperation and dialogue on standardisation, conformity assessment and product safety for the benefit of consumers and industry. It encourages coordinated activities in the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission, and facilitates bilateral trade. One of its aims is to achieve mutual recognition of certification and testing procedures, with corresponding test reports and certificates. The Working Group's members include standardisation institutions, technical testing organisations and certification bodies, industrial and business associations, industry experts, and accreditation agencies.

Technical cooperation has been agreed in 19 areas as part of the work plan for 2015 and 2016, which was approved in Berlin in January 2015. The Working Group has identified seven priority topics, namely smart grids / micro grids, smart cities, waste management, low voltage direct current networks, toys, product safety, and conformity assessment procedures. India and Germany are also collaborating in the following areas: introduction of standards for the manufacture and electrical safety of medical equipment; electrical safety in medical treatment rooms; energy efficiency in domestic appliances; solar industry; food safety; air and water quality; evaluation systems for green buildings; leather and textile goods; underground railways; market monitoring; accreditation; and renewable energy.

Meeting of the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure in Berlin on 14 and 15 January 2015. © GIZ

BMWi has commissioned GIZ with project management and implementation of the Working Group's work plan for the German side. Working in consultation with BMWi, the project is helping to develop the Working Group, It is coordinating the group's internal and external activities, building up a network with relevant actors in India, organising meetings, informing the relevant parties of where action is required, and serving as a contact for German experts on the ground. Last but not least, it is also organising workshops and training programmes to boost product safety in India. The private sector is being integrated primarily by means of partnerships with business and industry associations.

Results

In the areas of medical technology products and energy efficiency, particularly the water consumption of washing machines, India has for the first time improved existing standards or drafted new ones with support from the Working Group.