Areas of Cooperation

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Cooperation in Standards

The Agreement on the Establishment of South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO) entered into force with effect from 25 August 2011 after ratification by all member States of SAARC. All Member States have also nominated their Members and Alternate Members on the Governing Board of SARSO. Accordingly, the First Meeting of the Governing Board of SARSO has also been held in Bangladesh in December 2011. 

The South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO), a SAARC Specialised Body, became operational in Dhaka with effect from 3rd April 2014. A decision to this effect was taken by the Second Meeting of Governing Board of South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO) held in Dhaka on 2-3 April 2014 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Phuntsho Wangdi, Director-General, Bhutan Standards Bureau and Member on the Governing Board from Bhutan.   The Governing Board appointed Dr. Syed Humayun Kabir as the first Director General of SARSO for a period of three years; recommended the salary and allowances of Director-General, Professional Staff and General Services Staff of SARSO; and considered the interim Institutional Cost Budget prepared by the Director-General of SARSO for the period April – December 2014.   Dr. Kabir assumed the charge of the office of Director General of SARSO with effect from 3rd April 2014. Mr. Uwe Miesner, Head of Technical Cooperation in Asia, German National Institute of Metrology (PTB) also made a presentation on the status of activities held and proposed to be held under the SAARC-PTB MOU for strengthening quality infrastructure in the region.

The Governing Board also considered and approved the Report of the First Meeting of the SARSO Technical Management Board which was also held in Dhaka on 31 March – 1 April 2014. The Technical Management Board finalised its own Technical Rules and considered the Reports of the nine Sectoral Technical Committees which carried out the task of harmonisation of standards of identified products in the areas such as food and agricultural products; jute, textiles and leather; and building materials.

The SARSO Headquarters commenced its operations in Dhaka, Bangladesh with effect from 3 April 2014.

Significant work on harmonization of standards in the following identified products has been completed and Draft SAARC Standards formulated by the respective Sectoral Technical Committees as given below:

SARSO Sectoral Technical Committees (STCs)

Identified Products on which standards

are being  harmonised


Meetings held/to be held

STC on Food and Agricultural Products

1. Refined Sugar

2. Biscuits

3. Standards of Sugar-free Biscuits

4. Standards of Diet Biscuits

5. Standards of on Microbiological requirements for cream portion of filled biscuits

6. Instant Noodles

7. Black tea

8. Vanaspati/Banaspati (veg. ghee)

9. Skimmed Milk Powder

10. National/CODEX Standard for Hygienic condition


First Meeting at SAARC Secretariat on 24 August 2011

Second Meeting at Dhaka, Bangladesh on 12-13 December 2011.

Third Meeting at Karachi, Pakistan on 2-3 April 2012.

Fourth Meeting is to be held in India.

STC on Jute, Textile and Leather

1. Identified Hessian products

2. Jute Tarpaulin  Fabric

2.  Jute Bags for packing of various  commodities

3. Jute twine

4. Jute Carpet backing Fabric

5.  Jute yarn

6.  Cotton Drill Fabric

7.  Cotton Twill Fabric

8. Towels and Toweling Fabric


First Meeting at the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu on 23-24 November 2011

Second Meeting in Dhaka on 17-18 April 2013

Third Meeting was held in Colombo on 18-19 Dec 2013


STC on Building Materials

1. Steel Tube for Structural purposes

2. Ordinary Portland Cement

3. Steel Bars for Concrete Reinforcement

4. Structural Steel

5. High strength deformed steel bars and wires for concrete reinforcement

6. Steel wires used in pre-stressed concrete

7. Method of testing of steel and steel tubes (such as tensile testing, flattening, bend test etc

8. Ceramic Tiles


Three Meetings have been held at the SAARC Secretariat on

21-22 November 2011;

10-11 July 2012;

4-5 June 2013


STC on Chemicals and Chemical Products

1. Towels and Toweling Fabric

2. Shampoo and

3. Toilet soap

First Meeting is to be held in India

All standards finalised by SARSO will have a distinct identity and will be known as SAARC Regional Standards (SARS) with a specific number like SARS 0001. The first five numbers will be reserved for important symbols of SAARC and SARSO such as SAARC Flag, SAARC Logo, SARSO Mark etc.

SAARC Agreement on Multilateral Arrangement on Recognition of Conformity Assessment; and SAARC Agreement on Implementation of the Regional Standards, finalised in an Inter-Governmental Meeting hosted by Bangladesh on 13-14 March 2011, have been signed during the Seventeenth SAARC Summit held in Addu, Maldives on 10-11 November 2011. These two Agreements will enter into force on ratification by all Member States.

A SAARC Expert Group on Accreditation (SEGA) has been established, the first meeting of which was held in the Maldives on 4-5 November 2012 with the financial and technical assistance of German Institute of Metrology (PTB). It was followed by a National Awareness Workshop on Accreditation. The Second Meeting of SEGA was held in Nepal on 20-21 January 2014.

Since the signing of SAARC-PTB MOU in November 2003, PTB has been extending useful cooperation in helping Member States financially and technically in the field of quality infrastructure which include metrology, standardization, testing, certification and accreditation. PTB has also been making efforts at raising awareness about standards in the region.  

PTB also organised a Blended Learning Course on “Quality Infrastructure for Sustainable Development” (QUISP) followed by a six-month e-Learning Course for participants from SAARC Member States. About twenty participants attended this course. The first QUISP Workshop was held in New Delhi to introduce the contents and format of the course and final concluding workshop was held in Germany at the headquarters of PTB in Braunschweig and in Berlin.  

The implementation of the Regional Action Plan on Standards, Quality Control and Measures is now being monitored by the Governing Board of the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO).