Quality certificate is not ordinary paper

In the past period the host products are described complimentary. However, the quality of the Azerbaijani products fails to keep pace with the international standards, Azerbaijani enterprises demonstrate debility in applying modern methods of quality management while special attention is being paid to the quality problems in the world. It is noted not only by the host experts and consumers, but also international organizations. Even it brings harms to the prestige and competitiveness of qualitative Azerbaijani commodities in the world export markets.

In the market economy, the producers and consumers themselves find their market, basing on the financial winning and maximization of the consumer market. In addition, the consumers have the choice between the best commodities of various producers. Being key figures, the consumers determine the direction of the development of the production. Accordingly the qualitative products will gain successes.

Serious competitive fight led to devise a quality improvement program in the countries with the developed market economy. A necessity appeared to devise objective indicators to assess the capacity of the enterprises to produce products with necessary quality characteristics. These indicators are conformed by the certificate of conformity.

Currently exactly the quality certificate serves as a decisive factor to sign a contract on product supply. The successful realization of the qualitative products is the key source for existence of any enterprise. The companies such as McDonalds, Delta Airlines, Siemens, etc. are obvious examples for it. Exactly with the help of the quality management methods, the foreign companies obtained leading positions in various markets.

There are direct connections between the quality and efficiency of the production. Improving quality helps raise efficiency of the production, decreasing the expenses and increasing share of the market. The quality is being confirmed by the certificate, and the standards of certification have been practically confirmed all over the world, serving as a guarantee of high quality and services of the company. For instance, the enterprises in Azerbaijan which have obtained quality management certificate ISO 9001:2000 and national certificate AZS gain 'green light' both in internal and external markets.

According to the data provided by Azerbaijan's Ministry of Economic Development, one third of the commodities in Azerbaijan, including imported products, do not meet quality and security standards. This figure of the law-quality commodities is high for Azerbaijan. The key problems in the market are non-conformity of the storage and realization of the commodities. Moreover, sanitary-hygienic norms are not followed. Products of only 100 enterprises functioning in oil, banking, construction and food production sectors obtained ISO certificates.

After re-gaining its independence, Azerbaijan faced problems in developing foreign-economic co-operation, strengthening trade relations with the near and far countries, as well as problems in regulating internal market. Therefore, a necessity appeared for obligatory certification of the products (works, services) and due to it, Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers passed a 01 July 1993 Resolution No 343 on Certification of the Products. The Resolution confirmed the list of the products being subject to obligatory certification. Thus, a National Certification System AZS was established.

Up to now, no organization has been established in Azerbaijan, which takes responsibility for the non-conformity of the host products and presence of low-quality foreign products in the local markets. Currently the State Agency for Standardization, Metrology and Patent which was established according to 27 December 2001 order of Azerbaijan President is the central organization forming and carrying out State policy with regards to standardization, metrology, certification. Monitoring in the trade network is being held by the organization established under the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Health provides hygienic certificates on the quality. The State Consumer Market Control Service includes consumer products examination center. The authorities of the center include to hold paid examination of the imported and exported commodities and inspection of the quality of the products which are in turnover.

In addition, National Etalon Center will function in Azerbaijan in the next five years. At initial stage, the Center will function in three directions - weight devices, pressure devises. In addition, testing laboratories will function here.

In Europe the procedures of certification are carried out by the private organizations. Once a year, the private companies give report on the number of the issued certificates before the State organization. The State only inspects the company to determine whether the certificate was issued accurately.

In Azerbaijan the State is not prepared to stand away form the certification procedures because such private companies have not been established yet. Transferring the certification of the commodities is the requirement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for Azerbaijan's entrance the organization. The State Agency for Standardization supports transferring the certification of the commodities to the private sector. However, the Head of the State Agency, Ramiz Hasanov, considers that currently it is impossible because there are not any companies in the country which contain relevant laboratories and specialists.

Lack of specialists is observed in other spheres of establishing national certification system as well. In 2006 Standardization Institute was established in Azerbaijan. However, its activities faced substantial problems. Thus, a decision was made that the international standards already exist and therefore, there is no meaning to devise new standards. Translating them into Azeri, it is possible to accept them as national standards, but standards will be prepared for the pure national commodities.

With regards to the recognition of the Azerbaijani certificates in the foreign markets, certain works are being carried out in this regard. This year the State Agency intents to sign agreement of co-operation with Israel Standardization Institute with regards to standardization, certification and other related spheres, as well as agreement of co-operation with Lithuania regarding standardization, metrology and conformity, and memorandum of understanding with License Department of Hungary.

In 2007 the State Agency signed such agreements with the State Standardization Committee of Belarus, Inter-Governmental agreement with Tajikistan and co-operation agreement with the Metrology and Standardization Organization of Jordan.

Signing such agreement, the countries recognize the conformity certificates of each other, strengthen co-operation through realizing joint projects.

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