Authorities suggest that small business associations open their own laboratory for certifying imported clothing, footwear


The State Standardization Committee has suggested that small business associations open their own laboratory for examining the compliance of imported clothing and footwear with health standards, which would make it easier for market vendors to obtain certificates of conformity for their goods and comply with the Customs Union's rules, Deputy Trade Minister Iryna Narkevich told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.

She said that the proposal was made at government officials' meeting with leaders of small business associations on July 9. Authorities believe that it would make certification a much cheaper procedure for market vendors.

"The entrepreneurs were offered to unite, open some laboratory that would be accredited and carry out all tests in compliance with the standards currently in force," Ms. Narkevich said.

Thousands of market vendors in Belarus have fiercely opposed the introduction of the new certification rules for imported clothing and footwear within the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Approved by the Commission of the Customs Union, the rules prohibit the sale of clothes and footwear without a special label confirming their compliance with the Customs Union's safety standards. The sellers will be required to submit samples of their goods to laboratories for testing and pay the certification costs.

Market vendors staged a one-day nationwide strike in June to protest the rules, saying that the certification procedure would be too costly. Market vendors' stance prompted the government to postpone the introduction of the rules until July 1, 2014. // BelaPAN