South Asian nations huddle to harmonize standards  for cosmetics

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By Muhammad Luqman

SAARC’s Specialized Committee on Standardization that met in Lahore on Tuesday, announced that the process for the harmonization of standards for chemical products including toilet soap, shampoo, cosmetics, tooth paste would continue till the accomplishment of the task.

Representatives from the standards organizations from Afghanistan,, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and  Sri Lanka attended the meeting. However, India  and Bangladesh did not participate in the moot.

“ Due to Indian attitude, the committee of the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO)  could meet after three years. It was scheduled to meet in 2016,” Directo5r General , Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Khalid Siddiq  said at the concluding ceremony of the SARSO meet.

The  South Asian experts expressed hope that the entire region would soon have uniform standard for soap, shampoo, hair color, cosmetics and other health care products .

“ Whenever  , SARSO completes the process of Harmonized Standard (HS) codes , every  country will have to adopt  these,” Tashi Wangchuk, a representative of Dhaka-based SARSO said.

Due to absence of the harmonized standards, the intra-regional trade in South Asia is not more than 5 percent of the total trade of the SAARC countries.

Countries in  South Asia region have similarities in climate, culture, governmental policies, consumption, industrial production and other areas.  But unfortunately,  these  have not common standards.

“ If the countries of South Asia follow the suit of other regional blocs like ASEAN, NAFTA or European Union, the intra-regional in SAARC may increase multifold,” says President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Malik Tahir Javed.

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