Yemen and Egypt on January 13th signed an agreement in Cairo to improve technical co-operation, exchange expertise and increase trade between the two countries.
The memorandum, signed by Waleed Othman, director general of the Yemeni Standardisation Metrology and Quality Control Organisation (YSMO), and Hassan Abdul Mageed, director general of the Egyptian Organisation for Standardisation and Quality (EOS), aims to foster technical communication and the exchange of expertise and consultation and to increase co-operation and the exchange of information on compliance verification procedures, Othman said.
The joint action also aims to remove the technical barriers impeding bilateral trade between Egypt and Yemen in order to improve the quantity and quality of goods exchanged, he added.
Under the new agreement, Egypt's General Authority for Import/Export Quality Control will inspect products and goods prior to their export to Yemen to ensure they comply with Yemen's standard specifications and technical requirements, he said.
This "would certainly have a [positive] impact on the Yemeni consumer by ensuring that products exported to Yemen meet health and safety requirements," Othman said.
The YSMO is trying to apply quality control to all imports to Yemen via agreements with the products' countries of origin, deputy director-general Ibrahim al-Hashaf told Al-Shorfa.
This measure is being taken to protect consumers and monitor the quality of imported products in general, and food products and goods in particular, al-Hashaf said.
The agreement with Egypt is particularly important, he said, "in light of the fact that Egypt ranks high on the list of countries exporting to Yemen with a total of $259 million in exports in 2011".
The Yemeni organisation also seeks to exchange information and technical expertise in order to improve its efforts to curb the import of non-compliant goods and strengthen the bonds of trade between the two countries while easing access to the Yemeni market for Egyptian goods, al-Hashaf said.
It expects to conclude similar agreements with other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China, he added.
The agreement was welcomed by the Yemen Association for Consumer Protection (YACP).
"The agreement is important and will primarily serve the consumers and enhance the role of the YSMO through technical co-operation, and the exchange of expertise, consultation and information on cargo shipments," YACP chairman Fadhel Mansour told Al-Shorfa.
It is important that the YSMO conclude similar agreements with top exporting countries and that import traders comply with Yemen's standard specifications, Mansour said.
As a member of the GCC Standardisation Organization, Yemen follows GCC standard specifications.
Mustafa Nasr, director of the Studies & Economic Media Centre also welcomed the agreement and stressed the importance of benefiting from Egypt's technical expertise, adding that the Yemeni organisation's technical capacity is limited and it does not have a presence at all customs entry points.
"Some Yemeni traders order certain goods that do not comply with standard specifications, and take advantage of the long borders to bring in items and goods that are non-compliant," he said.
"The YSMO should take deterrent measures in collaboration with relevant government agencies and ban any product found to be in violation of [approved standard] specifications from entering the market on account of the huge negative impact they would have on public health and the national economy," Nasr said.