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GCC Conformity Assessment Scheme (RCAS)

It has been a giant leap forward when the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) has decided to implement the RCAS project in November 2005. Such enormous step by GSO aims at advancing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) goals through the harmonization, integration and building of the standardization areas and quality infrastructure in the Member States. RCAS stands for the initials of "Regional Conformity Assessment Scheme". The project has been planned to focus on the current procedures and practices to verify the conformity of the imported or the exported local produced products. The outcomes of the project have evolved to comprise developing scheme to enhance such practices in the context of a harmonized unified regional system. The target of the system should be serving the national and regional interests of GCC member states, so as to streamline the commercial activities of members inter alia and with other countries and regions as well.

A contract has been concluded with the Joint Accreditation Services for Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) to carry out such consultation that ended in the first quarter of 2007 with putting forward the conclusion and recommendations of the project.

On 5/6/2007, the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) Board relied on the project recommendations to decide the following:

  1. Establishing a single accreditation body for all GCC members to provide the whole range of accreditation services. The body will provide all the necessary services required for RCAS on equal terms to all members.
  2. Adopting the concept of coordination among GCC members in relation to metrology including legal metrology through the Steering Committee for Measurement and Calibration (SCMC).
  3. Approving the gradual change of the current methodology based on transforming technical standards into technical regulations to a conceptualization based on restricting the mandatory technical regulations to be based upon the essential requirements of products, while maintaining all technical standards to be voluntary.  Meanwhile, the newly initiated methodology based on European Union New & Global approach will be adopted as the new legislative regime of GCC.
  4. Creating a Gulf Conformity Mark to serve the new legislative regime.
  5. Drawing out and approving a unified regulatory regime for GCC market survey.
  6. Setting and approving a unified system of legal metrology regulations for all member states.
  7. Drafting and enacting a unified law of product liability for all member states.

RCAS Implementation

GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) is currently managing the implementation of the approved outcomes of RCAS as follows:

  1.  The entire activities of developing and managing standards within the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) focus on implementing an ambitious program relying upon adopting the international standards, while setting technical standards to be voluntary.
  2. SCMC has been formed to comprise representatives from each of the Member States. The permanent secretariat and presidency are assumed by GCC Standardization Organization (GSO). SCMC made a complete surveying of the whole cline of the metrological standards and activities in the Member States . Such a practice aims at coining a unified Gulf States-wide metrology law. SCMC will be permanent committee that represents the GCC members before the International Metrology Community.
  3. Under the supervision of the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO), an interim committee has been established entitled "GCC Accreditation Body Steering Committee" GABSC. GABSC comprises a balanced quorum of Member States. GABSC undertakes the responsibility of establishing the Gulf Accreditation Center (GAC). The committee should assign high priority to the formulation of the GCC Accreditation Body Bye Law. The committee has managed so far to initiate the byelaw into its final approval through expounding it during the 12th meeting of the technical board that was held on 25th – 26th of September 2007. Currently, the committee will focus on the rest of activities related to the center to be establishment.
  4. A permanent committee entitled The GCC committee for Conformity Assessment (GCCA) has been formed to comprise representatives from every member state. The permanent secretariat and presidency are assumed by the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO). The committee is supported by national committees to be formed at every member state to comprise the concerned parties involved in legislative aspects pertaining to products and services. The committee will assume the following:
    1. Drafting the GCC Technical Regulations in the light of the essential requirements of products.
    2. Drafting the GCC Conformity Assessment Procedures based upon Modular Approach
    3. Drafting a guide for selecting and registering notified bodies.
    4. Drafting a unified customs guidelines
    5. Launching the Market Survey Guidelines.
    6. Launching the unified products Liability Law.
    7. Managing the transition period pending the accomplishment of RCAS.