The World Trade Organization (WTO) requires all signatories to the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) to establish a National Inquiry Point and Notification Authority to gather and efficiently distribute trade-related regulatory, standards and conformity assessment information to the WTO Member community.
SON as the apex Standardization body of Nigeria, serves as the Nigerian source for standards and standards-related information at home and abroad.
SON provides bibliographic information on Nigerian, foreign, regional, and international voluntary standards, mandatory government regulations, and information’s on Impending implementation of new or revised technical regulations in the country, Code of Good Practice on the preparation, adoption, and application of standards and conformity assessment procedure ,Statements of Implementation and Administration of the TBT Agreement, Bilateral or Plurilateral agreements conformity assessment procedures for non-agricultural products.
The WTO secretariat then makes this information available to all WTO members. In this way the WTO-TBT Agreement ensures that the whole system of technical regulations is open and transparent.
The SON serves as National Enquiry Point issues notifications to the WTO secretariat concerning;
- Impending implementation of new or revised technical regulations in the country.
- Code of Good Practice on the preparation, adoption, and application of standards and conformity assessment procedures, Statements of Implementation and Administration of the TBT Agreement, Bilateral or Plurilateral agreements.
SON NEP responds to enquiries on standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures. The enquiries may emanate from the local industry or from foreign investors based in other WTO member states.
Provision of documents related to notifications
The National Enquiry Point facilitates the provision of full regulatory text of the notifications upon request.
Handling of comments on Notifications
NEP handles comments received from foreign countries on Nigerian notifications.
Dissemination of foreign notifications to the Industry
The NEP staff downloads notifications from the WTO website.
The summaries of notifications are then carefully screened and channeled to the affected Nigerian’s exporters/importers and other stakeholders (such as industry, the various standards development technical committees, the academia, consumer organizations, research institutions etc) – for information, review and comments.
Provision of information
The NEP serves as a referral service focal point in Nigeria for trade information and about standards, standards-related documentation, technical regulations/rules, and conformity assessment procedures.
Conformity assessment activities include standardization, inspection, market surveillance, testing, certification, metrology and accreditation are mainly implemented by governmental regulatory authorities.
The NEP staff responds to written, telephone, fax, email and walk-in requests for information. Searches are made using various hard copy indexes, CD-ROM indexes, the internet and by consulting professionals and standards-developing organizations world-wide.
The information tools used by the enquiry point to respond to enquiries include a database and notifications alert bulletin issued fortnightly.