The lab equipment were purchased at a cost of K2.4 million under the European Union (EU) funded Trade Related Assistance phase 2 (TRA2) Project, implemented by the Department of Commerce and Industry (Trade-Division) on behalf of the Government, and supported by the National Authorising Office Support Unit (NAOSU) under the Department of National Planning and Monitoring and the EU Delegation to PNG.
Through wider consultations with stakeholders during different phase project implementation, the Government identified PNG’s lack of comprehensive quality assurance facilities and equipment for testing of products, hence the need to address these by supporting trading facilitation agencies under Component 3 of the TRA2 project.
Due to the lack of such facilities currently in country, all product testing of product contents are done abroad. This investment directly addresses the needs of the manufacturing industries in the country, thereby improving efficiency and competitiveness of PNG’s export products to target markets.
The NATSL is one of six key laboratories identified and supported with the procurement and supply of laboratory equipment. The others are laboratories at NARI, NAQIA, NISIT and CPHL. All procurements were executed through international competitive bidding and using procurement procedures of the EU, carried out by the NAOSU as contracting authority.
The development of laboratory and testing services is vital to the Government’s plan for ensuring compliance with all globally accepted technical standards dealing with SPS and sanitary standards in food, raw exports, which is very much in line with the National Trade Policy (NTP) primary goals of meeting International Requirement for PNG’s Growth and Trade and Improvement of National infrastructure.
These requirement for testing, biological, quality, safety and technical compliance to standards for exports and services which enhances competitiveness is a major hindrance in export and trade and therefore the establishment and use of such equipment is welcomed both by Government and the private sector. As a member of the WTO, this is a direct boost to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation in country.
The NATSL will service as a regional laboratory within the Momase and Highlands to provide independent laboratory sample testing services for manufacturing and export-oriented industries to access.