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WTO Analytical Index — Guide to WTO Law and Practice

The World Trade Organization’s WTO Analytical Index is available as a CD-ROM. Researchers can use the index as a guide to the interpretation and application of findings and decisions of WTO panels, the WTO Appellate Body, and other WTO bodies. The CD-ROM presents the text of the particular articles or agreements, chronologically arranged excerpts of relevant jurisprudence and decisions, discussions of the relationships to other articles and WTO agreements, and cross-references to the GATT Analytical Index when applicable. In addition, the CD-ROM International Trade Statistics 2003 is available, with figures that have been compiled and analyzed by the WTO’s economists and statisticians. The user can examine international trade figures by country, region, and economic sector. The CD includes search and graphics capabilities, permitting researchers to examine data in chart, table, or graphic formats, and create their own analyses from the database.

U.S. CPSC Signs Cooperative Agreement with Chinese Government

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the government of the People’s Republic of China whereby both sides agree to work together to provide greater protections of the health of consumers in the United States and China. By formalizing a working relationship between the two governments, the CPSC and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine have committed to the exchange of scientific, technical, and regulatory information to help ensure the quality, safety and proper labeling of consumer products. The information exchange includes the training of laboratory and inspection personnel in China. “The goal of the new agreement is to facilitate information sharing regarding U.S. mandatory and voluntary consumer safety standards with Chinese officials and help educate Chinese manufacturers and importers about their obligation to produce safe products bound for the U.S.,” CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton said. U.S. federal safety standards for the construction of bicycle helmets, the amount of flash powder allowed in consumer fireworks and the inclusion of a child-resistant mechanism on cigarette lighters — all products imported from China — have saved hundreds of lives and prevented many more injuries. Because of the number of products under CPSC’s jurisdiction that are manufactured in China, the agency has taken a particularly proactive approach in working with the People’s Republic of China on consumer product safety issues.

New CEN President Elected

Mike Kelly, of the United Kingdom, has been unanimously elected the new president of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). His term will last until Dec. 31, 2006. Kelly took over from Vice-President Florence Nicolas of France, who had been acting president since January 2004. The position of CEN president was left vacant when Hanno Bäurle of Austria resigned. Previously, Kelly had been vice president and president of CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization. He was appointed president of the British Electrotechnical Committee in 2003, where he leads the UK delegation to the International Electrotechnical Commission and CENELEC. Kelly is a member of the IEC Council Board and of the British Standards Institute’s Standards Policy and Strategy Committee. Kelly worked for the Electric Cable Manufacturers Association and the European Trade Association for Electric Cable Manufacturers, Europacable. Within CEN, he will be responsible for chairing the General Assembly and Administrative Board meetings.

New Ad Hoc Group on Copyright

During 2003, the standardization community witnessed the unfolding of the Southern Building Code Congress International v. Veeck litigation and the exploration of whether a code developer’s building code loses copyright protection when it is adopted by a government entity and thereby becomes “the law.” The resulting decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit holds that the text of a code that is adopted by reference into law loses its copyright, thus emasculating the code developer’s ability to enforce its copyright in its code. In an effort to coordinate the views of the U.S. standardization community regarding this development, George W. Arnold, chairman of the American National Standards Institute’s board of directors, announced recently the formation of a new Copyright Ad Hoc Group that will report to the board’s executive committee. Dan Bart, a member of the ANSI board and senior vice president of standards and special projects at the Telecommunications Industry Association, has been appointed chairman of the ad hoc group. The group will delineate and review issues relating to the assertion of copyright in standards and codes, and then seek to develop strategic recommendations to (a) assist standards bodies and participants in arriving at a common understanding of these issues and addressing them in a constructive manner, (b) formulate ANSI’s actions and policy positions vis-à-vis the government and (c) provide guidance to the relevant ANSI governance bodies.

Productivity in the Design and Construction Industry

In a recent message available online, Civil Engineering Research Foundation President Harvey M. Bernstein noted that, with the recent downturn in the U.S. economy, the design and construction industry must find ways to reduce costs and deliver products and services more quickly, more efficiently, and with higher quality. He explains that the Civil Engineering Research Foundation has spent the last year examining issues of productivity and ways to bring various stakeholders together to measure industry productivity and recommend strategies for improvements. After these investigations, CERF is proposing a collaborative industry plan for defining and measuring productivity. If CERF is successful in raising funding for this initiative, Bernstein says, the first phase of this project would include a collaboration of industry leaders, from government, industry, academia and industry associations, to identify and promulgate a set of measures, determine appropriate benchmarks, devise a plan for improving the productivity of the industry, and hold a national symposium focused on measuring productivity. (Taken from CERF Spring Newsletter.). //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International