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ASTM International in Beijing
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 December 2006
Inside ASTM
Barbara Schindler is ASTM International’s director of Corporate Communications and former editor in chief of SN.
See also Beijing Day sidebar.

ASTM International in Beijing

Board of Directors Holds Historic Meeting in Chinese Capital

Building on years of successful cooperation with standards organizations in China, Beijing was the location of the 2006 fall meeting of the ASTM International board of directors. The board meeting, as well as other events, took place in China’s capital city during the week of Oct. 16, 2006. For a summary of the board meeting itself, see News of the Board.

Mr. Shi Baoquan (center), vice administrator of the Standards Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC), is greeted in Beijing by 2006 ASTM chairman of the board, Anthony Fiorato (left) and ASTM president, James Thomas (right).

The ASTM group made the most of its stay in Beijing, extending the visit beyond the time required to conduct the business of the board. ASTM International’s days in the Chinese capital included the opportunity to reach out to organizations headquartered in Beijing. Members of the ASTM board and staff set out throughout the city to call on Chinese officials of government, industry, and academia. Conversely, ASTM opened its doors to Chinese organizations, inviting mutual discovery and learning. These insightful encounters revealed common goals, created bridges, and left lasting positive impressions. This article summarizes the events of the week.

Opening Events

ASTM’s activities in Beijing were launched with a reception, which set the tone for the fruitful days ahead. More than 150 officials from Chinese and U.S. government and industry attended the ASTM reception.

ASTM President James Thomas welcomed the guests by affirming ASTM’s commitment to China, “Each time I visit China, I become more keenly aware of the deepening connections between ASTM International, the Standards Administration of China, the technical experts who work with us both, the business community of China, and the U.S. Embassy. This historic occasion is the latest indication of a dialogue and partnership that is becoming increasingly meaningful and productive.”

The 2006 ASTM board of directors gather for a photo at the St. Regis Hotel in Beijing, China, where the board’s meetings were held.

David Sedney, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in China, stated, “The decision by ASTM International to hold its board meeting in China is indicative of the role that standards play in trade. Standards can facilitate trade, but they can also become non-tariff trade barriers if used strategically through government laws, regulations, policies, or industry practices to protect domestic products from foreign competition. With a no-borders approach to standards development, ASTM International leads the way to a level playing field. ASTM has made a commitment to a standardization relationship with China. I congratulate you on the great enterprise that you are involved in.”

Mr. Shi Baoquan, vice administrator of the Standards Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC), was the lead representative of the Chinese standardization community for the evening. “I am pleased to meet new friends tonight,” he said. “The standardization experts here have done a great deal to promote trade. ASTM standards have a very high authority in China and are widely used.” Mr. Shi concluded by toasting the U.S./China standardization cooperation.

ASTM staff and the executive committee of the board visited the headquarters of the China National Institute for Standardization. CNIS president, Mr. Zheng Weihua (left) was presented with a commemorative banner by ASTM president, Jim Thomas. The concepts on the banner reflect communication, understanding, cooperation, and friendship.

Mr. Shi also addressed the board of directors the next day, presenting an informative overview of Chinese standardization with statistics confirming the increasingly important role of standards in China’s rapidly growing economy.

China’s future in standardization is an ambitious one. The SAC executive outlined the long-term standardization goals and policies
of his country, which are to pursue two major objectives. Before 2010, China anticipates a working level of standardization reaching that of medium-developed countries, and before 2015, China aspires to be functioning at an advanced international working level. SAC is a leading partner in implementing this standardization strategy and measuring its results.

Mr. Lu Yansun, senior advisor and vice minister of the China Machinery Industry Federation’s Committee on Boilers and Pressure Vessels (left) and Jim Thomas discussed closer cooperation.

SAC and ASTM International signed a memorandum of understanding in 2004. With regard to the framework of the MOU and drafting Chinese national standards, Mr. Shi noted, “I am confident about
the continued cooperation between ASTM and SAC in the future.”

ASTM Board member Ron Siletti (left), corporate director of standards for IBM, is greeted by Xie Jun (right), deputy chief administrator of the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA). ASTM board members, James Turner (second from left) of the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee and Lars Flink (second from right), CEO of the Swedish Standards Institute, look on.

University Visits

Several ASTM board members and staff visited institutions of higher learning in the Beijing vicinity. Presentations were made providing overviews of ASTM International, relevant ASTM technical committees, and U.S. and global trends in specific industry sectors. These university visits reinforced ASTM’s academic outreach program, which offers free student membership.

ASTM director Roger Stoller lectures at the Department of Engineering Physics at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.

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