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The new World Trade Point Federation Web site, initiated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, offers trade contacts and information that may be of particular interest to small- and medium-size companies wanting to develop export opportunities.

The International Trade Center publishes International Trade Forum, a quarterly magazine with news about trade law, trade rules, and exporting tips.

A memorandum of understanding launching a joint technical assistance program to help developing and least-developed countries increase their participation in multilateral trade negotiations has been signed by the WTO and the International Institute for Trade and Development. The technical assistance program will consist of training courses given by WTO and ITD Secretariat officials. The courses will start this year and will be jointly funded by WTO and ITD. The International Institute for Trade and Development is the product of a cooperative agreement between the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Concrete Financial Assistance

The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute is making scholarships available for the 2003-2004 academic year. The scholarships are intended to foster the development of practicing engineers in the field of site-cast reinforced concrete construction. CRSI plans to award scholarships in the amounts of $2,500 each to senior students who are majoring in civil engineering or architectural engineering; and $3,000 each to incoming graduate students (master’s degree) in civil engineering, structural engineering, or architectural engineering. Contact: Lisa M. Kelly, CRSI, Schaumburg, Ill. (phone: 847/517-1200).

Six Federal Agencies to Help Open the “GATE” to Enhanced Manufacturing R&D

Six federal agencies involved in manufacturing R&D have launched a major effort to improve the exchange of information about their technical programs, and collaborate where appropriate, to enhance the payoffs from federal investments in this area. The Government Agencies Technology Exchange in Manufacturing (GATE-M) will comprehensively address manufacturing R&D across the federal government. Agencies involved include the departments of Commerce (represented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Defense, and Energy (represented by two separate entities: the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy), as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). GATE-M agencies, U.S. manufacturers and the economy could benefit from the agencies’ expanded efforts to (1) exchange and leverage information about their technical programs; (2) facilitate collaboration when it makes sense to leverage resources to address particular issues; and (3) advance issues on an interagency, national level. For more information, contact David Stieren, NIST Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory, Gaithersburg, Md. (phone: 301/975-3197).

NIST Launches Investigation into Rhode Island Nightclub Fire

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched an investigation into the tragic fire of Feb. 20 at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. The work is being conducted under the authority of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act. NIST will lead a team of public and private-sector fire and safety experts to carry out the investigation. Under the act, NIST is responsible for conducting fact-finding investigations of building-related failures that result in substantial loss of life. The team’s primary objectives will be to 1) determine the conditions in the nightclub prior to the fire, such as the materials of construction and contents; the location and conditions of doors, windows and ventilation; the installed fire protection systems; the number of occupants and their approximate locations; 2) reconstruct the fire ignition, fire spread and survivability within the building using computer models; 3) examine the impact on survivability of having an installed sprinkler system, all other conditions being the same; and 4) analyze the emergency evacuation and occupant responses to better understand the impediments to safe egress. //

Copyright 2003, ASTM