ASTM International, with support from the Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology (GOST-R) of the Russian Federation, hosted a delegation of eight high level public and private sector executives from the Chechen Republic during a week long Intensive Training Program. The program was conducted 28 November to 2 December at sites in Pennsylvania as well as in and near Washington, DC. ASTM arranged the logistics and educational content to address the objectives of the delegation; namely to provide information and examples of the public-private partnership in standardization and regulation.
The delegation began the program with overviews of ASTM International, the U.S. Standardization System and ASTM’s Global Cooperation program. Information about ASTM’s technical committee operations, membership, publications and certification, training and proficiency programs was also provided. Two site visits were conducted in the Philadelphia area including,
The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) to learn how CLSI develops voluntary, consensus standards and how those standards are applied in regulation as well in other nations,
Tinius Olsen a specialist manufacturer and supplier of static tension and/or compression materials testing machines to learn how and why one company participates in the standards development process and the value of doing so.
The delegation continued their training program in Washington, DC. During their three days in the nation’s capital they met with several federal agencies and private organizations that conveyed information about the public-private partnership in regulation and standardization for specific sectors. These visits included:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Washington, DC
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Silver Spring, MD
U.S. Geological Survey, Herdon, VA
U.S. Trade Representative, World Trade Organization/Technical Barriers to Trade, Washington, DC
SAE International, Washington, DC
U.S.-Russia Business Council, Washington, DC
Mr. Alvi Shamilev, Director, GOST-R summarized the delegation’s experience in the training program by noting that the delegation was impressed with the openness of the organizations and agencies visited, the extent and value of the information imparted, and the degree to which the delegates were able to interact with their peers and colleagues during the visits.
Training Program Timeline
28 & 29 November
ASTM Staff conducted a series of presentations with the delegation to provide an overview of ASTM International, ASTM’s Global Cooperation activities, the U.S. Standardization System, Technical Committee Operations, Membership, Publications and Marketing initiatives, especially those in place in the Russian Federation, and Proficiency Testing, Certification and Training. Site visits were also conducted with the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute and Tinius Olsen. In the former, the contrast between ASTM and CLSI helped the delegates learn how the two accredited, U.S.-based standards development organizations serve a global audience while still achieving their respective missions differently. The delegates learned that even in serving diverse sectors with different consensus procedures, both organizations develop and promote technical information that enables safety and health, supports quality and reliability and facilitates trade. At Tinius Olsen the delegates learned about the history of the company and its longstanding engagement in ASTM standards development activities and company executives’ views on the advantages of actively participating in standards development as a key to technology transfer and marketing. The delegates also enjoyed the tour of Tinius Olsen’s production, testing and library facilities.
The delegation met with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Herndon, VA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (USFDA-CDRH) in Silver Spring, MD. At the USGS visit the delegates learned about USGS’s work in identifying the resources of coal in the U.S. and how ASTM standards contribute to measuring the quality of the those resources. At the U.S. FDA-CDRH, the delegates heard about how standards improve time to market for safe and effective medical devices and also took part in a laboratory tour. Both visits also allowed for an exchange of information about the role each agency plays in regulation in the United States. Both agencies also explained how standards provide the public sector a resource for regulation as well as how public sector representatives participate in standards development.
The delegates began the day with a meeting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service. During the meeting they learned about USDA’s regulatory and inspection processes which use standards for food and food safety. The second of the day’s meetings was with the Senior Director, U.S. Trade Representatives Office. This meeting focused on issues related to the Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organization, TBT Agreement obligations, transparency, the use of international standards, and how to address technical barriers to trade.
The day’s first meeting took place at the U.S. Russia Business Council (USRBC) where delegates learned about the USRBC’s role as a premier trade association representing trade and investment interests of its U.S. and Russian members companies on bilateral commercial matters. The group returned to the ASTM Washington office to meet with a representative of SAE, who addressed the SDO’s role in standardization for the mobility industry as well as its international and academic programs. The last visit of the ITP took place at the U. S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (US DoC – NIST). This exchange resulted in a deeper understanding of the federal infrastructure that supports the development and implementation of standardization, metrology and accreditation and the information gathering and exchange that NIST facilitates with regard to the use of private sector standards by federal agencies in regulation.