Streamlining Georgian Quality Standards
02 February, 2012

EUR 1.5 million is disbursed by the EU to finance the institution of international system of quality standards assessment in Georgia. The successful outcome of the project may ease life of Georgian exporters as quality certificates acquired at Georgian certifying bodies will be acknowledged internationally.
Presentation of the project, which took place on January 26, 2012  and will be valid for a year and a half, will be assessing whether Georgian Accreditation Center (GAC), a National Body of Accreditation, implements

accreditation process of Georgian labs and other certifying and inspection bodies in line with the international standards.
After completion of the project, GAC will make an announcement ILAC - the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation of laboratory and inspection accreditation bodies formed more than 30 years ago to help remove technical barriers to trade. And if ILAC approves Georgian national accreditation body’s claim GAC will become ILAC member that means certificates issued by Georgian labs and quality evaluating bodies accredited by GAC will be recognized worldwide and first of all in the EU. This will ease life to Georgian exporters from both time and pecuniary points of view, Irakli Matkava, Deputy Minister of Economy, believes for they no longer will need to acquire quality certificates twice and will save time, money and nerves all alike.
The GAC will be implementing the project in partnership with the German-Latvian consortium created on the basis of cooperation of Federal Institute of Material Research and Testing and National Accreditation Bureau of Latvia (LATAK).
Another core point of the upcoming project is that getting closer with the EU quality practice falls in line with the conclusion of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Georgia and the EU. The DCFTA negotiations launch was announced in this past December and actual talks start this month.
The project is based on twinning framework meaning that the EU state countries and organizations will share their experience and now-how to beneficiary countries. 
“This is a very important system to accredit conformity of product and service  produced in Georgia with different standards and if this system works successfully it will be easier to our producers to enter different markets and first of all the EU one,” Matkava told Georgian Journal.
According to Paata Gogolidze, General Director of GAC,  if GAC joins ILAC Georgian entrepreneurs will have kind of a green card at international market as they will be able to escape double certifying procedures initially at local market and then at the market they plan to export goods for each country has its requirements.
“If today entrepreneurs need to go to foreign country and make a laboratory test or protocol for exported good, they will do it right here if we are acknowledged by ILAC. This is much cheaper and saves time as they do not need to make it twice, only once and it will be like a green card at the international market,” Gogolidze said.
Price depends on the size and complexity of goods and service but the GAC accreditation to quality evaluation bodies is fixed by government and ranges between GEL 1200-5 000 that is the cheapest in the region. Similar certificate costs at average USD 20 thousand and EUR 10 thousand in the US and EU respectively.
Georgia has no special national standards, its quality standards are based on the international standards and also recognizes the EU, the US as well as the soviet-time GOST standards. The latter is planned to cancel gradually. Creation of national different standards will complicate Georgian export to hit oversea market as exporters will be obliged to comply with local standards first and go through burdensome standardization procedures additionally at the targeted market too, Georgian government believes.
“It will be waste of time and money to elaborate standards for product that are already produced in other reputable countries and much better than we do. We work out national standards only for goods that are unique and produced only in Georgia like mineral waters for example,” Matkava elaborated. 
The EU would like Georgia to adopt only EU standards; however Georgian government prefers to have more flexible standard system so as entrepreneurs had a choice on the one hand, and keep prices lower on the other hand for adoption of the stiff EU standards alone may jack prices up significantly.

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