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ASTM International Joins Consortium to Open Standards and Conformity Assessment Office in China

ASTM International, in cooperation with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Petroleum Institute, and CSA America, has formed the Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment and will establish an office in Beijing in early 2005. The four-member consortium, led by ASME, was awarded $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce for the establishment of the CSCA office.

Ben Wu, deputy undersecretary for technology, United States Department of Commerce, made the announcement at the U.S. celebration of World Standards Day on Oct. 13. The event, which culminated with a dinner at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., was attended by representatives of about 50 trade associations, professional societies, standards development organizations, corporations, and government agencies.

According to Jim Thomas, president of ASTM International, “The new China office will establish a much-needed presence in China for U.S.-based standards and conformity assessment organizations. The office will help to build cooperative and enduring relationships with Chinese governmental and industry standards associations. It will also help promote the acceptance and use of ASTM International standards in China and greater participation from China in the ASTM International system.”

Once the office is established in Beijing, the CSCA consortium will form relationships with peer agencies in China, monitor standards development, and promote acceptance of its members’ standards and conformity assessment systems. The office will prepare Chinese informational materials and a Web site, obtain market and standards information of strategic importance, act as a liaison with government agencies and standards officials, and conduct training.

The funds awarded to the consortium are made available through the Commerce Department’s Market Development Cooperator Program, a public-private partnership developed to help small- and medium-sized U.S. firms expand exports that support jobs. The MDCP is a competitive program of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. The program builds partnerships by providing financial and technical assistance to non-profit organizations involved in improving competitiveness and developing foreign markets. The consortium will match every federal dollar with two dollars of its own.

ASTM International has a long history of participation in Chinese standardization activities. This involvement includes the recent signing of an MOU with the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China, and agreements with other standards organizations including the Chinese National Institute of Standardization and the Shanghai Institute of Standardization. Also, ASTM has published an annual Chinese version of SN, as a joint venture with the China Association for Standardization, since 1991. //

Members of the Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment are presented with the Market Developer Cooperator Program award Oct. 13. Shown from left: June Ling (ASME), Jennifer Henderson (CSA America), William Berger (ASME), Ben Wu (Deptartment of Commerce, Technology Administration), Heidi Hijikata (Deptartment of Commerce, International Trade Administration), Al Callahan (CSA America), Mark Sheehan (ASME), and Dave Wizda (ASME).
Al Frink, Department of commerce assistant secretary for manufacturing and services, presents Kitty Kono, ASTM International, with a certificate of recognition on the awarding of grant funds for the CSCA office in Beijing.

ASTM President Awarded Moore Medal by SES

ASTM International President James A. Thomas has been awarded the Leo B. Moore Medal by the Standards Engineering Society. The medal, which was presented to Thomas at the 2004 World Standards Day dinner in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13, is the most prestigious honor given by SES.

Thomas was cited for being instrumental in shaping the U.S. National Standards Strategy to allow for a multiple path approach to international standardization and for leading the way toward greater recognition and acceptance of U.S.-based international standards.

According to the citation accompanying the medal, “Jim is, and has been, a very visible, vocal and persuasive advocate of the private-sector U.S. standards system and has spoken at countless forums all over the world on the need for market-driven standards as opposed to the trend for government-mandated standards.”

Thomas, who has served in various positions at ASTM since 1972, received his bachelor of science degree in industrial relations and his masters in organization and management from LaSalle University. In addition to being a member of SES, Thomas serves on the board of directors of the American National Standards Institute, and is a member of the Industry Functional Advisory Committee on Standards for Trade Policy Matters of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Council for Engineering and Scientific Society Executives, and the American Society for Association Executives.

The Leo B. Moore Medal was established in 1963 to recognize Moore, then professor of management (emeritus) at the Sloan School of Management of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is given to an individual for highest achievement, extraordinary contribution, and distinguished service in the field of standardization and its advancement through original research and writing, creative application and development, or professional and public service. The award was first given in 1963 to the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. Other past recipients include another ASTM president, William T. Cavanaugh, as well as ASTM chairs Wayne P. Ellis and Arthur Cohen. //

ASTM President James A. Thomas receives the Leo B. Moore Medal from Stephen Lowell, president, Standards Engineering Society.
A 10-member delegation from the China Association for Engineering Construction Standardization (CECS) visited ASTM International headquarters in October to discuss areas for future standards cooperation. The delegation was led by Mr. Zhou Xiquan, CECS secretary general, who is standing to the right of Kitty Kono (sixth from left), ASTM’s vice president for global cooperation, and Jim Olshefsky, ASTM’s director of committee services.

State of California Mandates Use of ASTM Standard for Compostable Plastics

California became the first state to officially mandate the use of ASTM standards in the labeling of biodegradable and compostable plastics recently when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law that requires that all plastic bags that are labeled compostable, degradable or biodegradable meet a standard set by ASTM International.

The bill, which will become effective Jan. 1, 2005, states, “A person shall not sell a plastic bag in this state that is labeled with the term ‘compostable,’ ‘biodegradable,’ ‘degradable,’ or any form of those terms, or in anyway imply that the bag will break down in a landfill, composting, marine, or other natural terrestrial environment, unless, at the time of the sale, the plastic bag meets a current ASTM standard specification for the term used on the label.”

The standard that all plastic bags in California will need to conform to is D 6400, Specification for Compostable Plastics, which establishes the requirements for labeling of materials and products as compostable. Specification D 6400 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee D20 on Plastics. //

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