Slovenia was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before it was dissolved at the end of World War I. the Slovenes joined the Croats and Serbs in 1918 to form a new multinational state that was named Yugoslavia in 1929. After the end of World war II, Slovenia attained the status of a republic of the renewed Yugoslavia but however after a prolonged rule under majority Serbs, the Slovenes gained their independence in 1991 through a ten day way. Originally Slovenia was owned by the Illyrian and Celtic people and it became part of the Roman Empire during the first century B.C During the World War II, Slovenia was occupied by dived among Germany, Hungary, and Italy. Slovenia fought a guerrilla war against the German Nazis under the leadership of the Croatia-born Communist leader, Marshal Tito.
The total trade equivalent in Slovenia is estimated to be about 115% of the country’s GDP and currently both the imports and exports are growing spontaneously as a result of increased foreign demand and improved domestic manufacturing sector. According to a report released by the CIA World Fact-book, Slovenia exports were estimated to be US$8.9 billion while the imports were US$9.9 billion during the year 2000. Basically Slovenes export electrical machinery, automobiles, chemical and chemical products, shoes, furniture, cigarettes and other unfinished goods. Tourism in Slovenia has also been another source of revenue. The export of services has in the recent years increased hence indicating a continuous growth in the transport sector in addition to other services.
Their imports include machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, chemicals, fuels and lubricants and also some foodstuffs. There is an influx in the number of food substitutes which are being imported by the country. The strength of the exported goods has led to the high demand for components and raw materials. Oil prices have been on the increase and the weakening of the euro have played a pivotal role in determining the prices of oils and lubricants imports since the prices are increasing concurrently.
Any country has a quality standardization body responsible for setting up, managing, and maintaining a national standardization system in several fields and thus in Slovenia the body is known as the Slovenian Institute for Standardization (SIST). This institute is managed by the national assembly which is made up of SIST members. The president if the SIST acts as the representative of the institute, he convenes and chairs the meeting of the Council and this Council controls all business activities. This body performs various standardization activities including an annual work program which authenticates the Slovenian quality standards. All these activities are performed under public interest but with a control on professional sovereignty of implementing the basic international and Europeans rules and regulations of standardization which are based on public accessibility, honesty and voluntary character.
The SIST director is responsible for the legality of the operations executed by the body in business operations in addition to provision of technical administrative services. The body consists of two departments where one of its sections for general activities while the other deals with electro technical, information technology and telecommunication fields are part of the bodies which control the activities of the Slovenian standardization system. The rules and regulations governing this body are documented in the “Rules of Procedure for the Technical Board of the Slovenian Institute for Standardization”
The technical work of this body is executed by an average of 2500 Slovenian technical experts who consist the 151 technical bodies which form the Slovenian Institute for Standardization. The fundamental responsibility of this body is to prepare all the Slovenian national standards and other documents which are related to standardization in Slovenia. The body participates in the preparation of European and international organizations for which the body is a potential member. The bodies which constitute SIST are known as the Technical Working Bodies (TWBs) and are designed in such a way that they assume equal representation of all the involved parties in an effort to create independence standardization activities which are not biased and none of the groups predominates representation in the body in the process of making decisions of the national standards body. SIST has already acquired the ISO 9000:2000 which certifies the standards and instructions which control the quality system. Further, the organization is ISO 14000 certified and this is a certificate that protects the environment.
SIST in conjunction with the Slovenia metrology Institute have established standards for measuring the following:
Slovenian Accreditation (SA) is a national institution which accredits the establishment and maintenance of unbiased and independent accreditation system that conforms to the SIST EN ISO/IEC 17011:2004 standard and thus eventually increasing the transparency and credibility of the accredited bodies of conformation. Some of these bodies include calibration, laboratory tests, and the certification of the control bodies. In a way and under suitable terms and conditions which are applicable to public service in the republic of Slovenia and this will be in accredited under the guidelines of the Accreditation Act and the Decision on the Establishment of Slovenian Accreditation. Slovenian Accreditation operates independently and it executes the accreditation services which have been recognized as competent and reliable both domestically and internationally.
If quality standards are arbitrary set they can result to monopoly and protectionism which can eventually increase the trade barriers instead of reducing them. An agreement to Technical Barriers to Trade which is a part of the Annex1A of the regulations that established the WTO and it is intended to make sure that regulations, technical standards and testing procedures do not create trade barriers as well as obstacles. The agreement recognizes the rights of a country to adopt some standards which they consider to be appropriate for instance health and environment protectionism so as the products produced meet the standards that are favorable to the consumer.
So as to reduce diversity which may result to confusion, TBT advocates for the use of international standards where appropriate but however it does not force them to change their designated standards thus TBT does not require SIST to change its rules and regulations. TBT sets out a formulated code of good practice for the designation, adoption and application of standards that are set by central government organizations. Further this agreement provides the methodology on how countries should apply their own standards and regulations and it is recommended that they use the same standards which are common to several central governments. The agreement further advocates that the procedures to be used in the process of determining whether a product conforms to the national standards which are considered to be fair and equitable. This discourages any country the opportunity to design rules and regulations which favor the domestic products and thus an unfair advantage. The agreement allows countries to recognize the testing procedures implemented by any country. Through this method, the program can be tested so as to ensure that it is in accordance to international studies.
In 1998, the Slovenian government issues the Decree on Notification Procedure under the agreement made on TBT. This Decree was issued after the ratification of Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO. By so doing the Slovenian government accepted the fact that it will abide by all the rules and regulation which were presented by the Marrakesh Agreement. Both the multilateral agreements were geared towards preventing the WTO from creating unnecessary barriers to trade through the implementation of technical guidelines, standards, conformity and assessment procedures as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures. In an effort to ensure that the above fore mentioned obligations, Slovenia Founded WTO/TBT enquiry points through which it began to execute tasks which were related to domestic and foreign notifications. The WTO/TBT enquiry point was structured in such a way that it met the standards of Slovenia as well as the Metrology institute.
The fundamental role of the TBT is to ensure that technical standards, regulations and the procedures of certification do not create unnecessary trade barriers. The agreement has banned the requirement of some technical aspects in an effort to limit trade as opposed to the technical requirements which have been implemented for the legitimate purposes like protecting the consumer and the environment. TBT is usually associated with the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures and both agreements were signed during the same year and they had similar goals. Since the WTO rules were favoring the countries with technical requirements the TBT encouraged countries to realize the results of other countries conformity and assessment tests, this is a set which is conducted in an effort to determine whether a certain product conforms to the set standards.
The members of the TBT are advised to implement international standards as a technical strategy whenever they have the opportunity and al the members of the TBT are required to establish enquiry points, these are offices which are capable of providing the technical information and the test procedures about certain products of a specific country. Technical assistance programs aid a country to improve its technical positions so as to meet the international set technical standards.
Exports from several developing countries like Slovenia are likely to be affected by the TBT measures. The biggest problem is the fact that the importing countries often implement the SPS requirements which are more stricter than the international norms, for instance the EU has special requirements which regulate meat processing plants in addition to the fact that countries like Norway have implemented strict rules that control salmonella, however SIST has been on the fore front entering into bilateral negotiations with several other nations to overcome the barriers created through the implementation of SPS and TBT.
In many cases, various countries lack the proper channels and courage to pursue complains to the WTO dispute settlement department and since several countries are at different levels of development and therefore they require varying degrees of technical assistance hence it is therefore paramount to first identify, evaluate and quantify certain specific needs of each state. In terms of the resources required, it is essential to consider the specific problem solving strategies such as the overall cost of the technical assistance in addition to the cost-benefit analysis. SIST has put into consideration the fact that there exist priorities in importing foodstuffs which have to be exploited to the maximum. Thus we can conclude that donors should increase aid to the needy countries in addition to provision of technical assistance based on the GDP of a country. Also the terms and conditions of the SPS should be considered to be revised as they restrict the poor countries from competing with the developed countries but unfortunately the opposite is true, the conditions seem to become tougher and countries with export potentials are unable to export their products due to the terms and conditions of export and import.