Complaint

Complaint number
NTB-000-935  
NTB Type
1.15. Other  
Complaint
A Zambian exporter is experiencing challenges with obtaining certification from Bureau Veritas (BV) South Africa which has been unjustifiably delaying the issuance of Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) despite all the required documents being availed. This has been a continuous hindrance to the company’s ability to export its products to other countries in the COMESA and SADC regions specifically to Kenya and Zimbabwe.

BV South Africa has been systemically delaying in the issuance of CoCs by, inter alia, requesting for the same documents by different officers in the company and by responding to emails very late beyond the stipulated period of 48 hours within which the CoCs should be issued. These delays have previously lasted up to 3 or 4 months. Additionally BV South Africa has also delayed the issuance of Certificate of Conformity on products that were initially passed on previous assessments despite there being no change in the production process. This problem is related to clearance for exports destined for Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The actions by BV South Africa constitute a Non-Tariff Barrier and we would like this issue to be resolved expeditiously as the Company has already incurred losses as a result of the unnecessary delays.  
Status note
On 26 February 2020 a representative from Bureau Veritas responded that they are operating a Verification of Conformity programme or CBCA (Consignment- Based Conformity Assessment) on behalf of Governments (in examples provided Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania). Their detailed response to the NTBs is given below :

Followings the analysis of the files reference you provided, we consider that the files were treated in accordance with the applicable technical requirements. For 2 files, improvement of communication would have certainly leaded into shorter processing time. Among various corrective actions that have been decided, the main one is the creation of a Sales Office in Lusaka in order to directly support all exporters willing to export in countries having such Programme of Verification of Conformity. The support will be provided through awareness and clarifications on the implementation of the various programmes. This will be effective as of March 1st 2020. On top of that an awareness session will be organised in Lusaka at the Inntercontinental Hotel on March 27th at 8h30. You are obviously welcome to attend.
We also remind that these programmes are related to conformity of products and applicable assessment process is not only an inspection. Exporters are advised to initiate their requests as soon as they know they are going to supply goods to the country where such program is in place and not to wait for the goods to be ready to be shipped.”  
Progress update note
1. On 29 January 2020, South Focal Point advised that the Agreements between Bureau Veritas (BV) South Africa and the various SADC Member States are a private matter. The South African government is not privy to the terms of the arrangements. We will not know whether there are disagreements in the arrangement or the contract has been terminated. The complaint would be better responded to by the governments which have contracted BV to issue the certificates ( the final destination of the goods). Zambia is therefore advised to approach the country/countries that have engaged BV to address the NTB.
2. On 18 February 2020, Bureau Veritas requested the following details to allow them trace the matter:
a)Name of the Exporter and their key contact details.
b)File reference number(s) for the shipment(s) which are alleged to have been delayed. Each shipment inspected by BV has a unique file reference.
c)Any other useful information shedding light on the matter as may be deemed appropriate by this exporter e.g. previous email correspondence between the supplier and BV.  
Policy or regulatory NTB
No 
Location
Zimbabwe: Ministry of Industry and Commerce (Government institution)  
Reporting Country or Region
Zambia  
Country specific trade issue
No  
Date of incident
2019-12-01  
Status
Resolved  
Date of resolution
2020-02-26  
Product Description
All products  
Total value
248.00  
Date reported
2020-01-07 12:31  
Modified
2020-06-23 11:57