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Leading Business Groups and Associations Urge USTR to Reject European Proposal
Proposal in WTO Non-Agricultural Market Access Negotiations Would Restrict Choice of International Standards
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council and more than a dozen industry trade associations sent a joint letter to the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, stating their strong objections to a European proposal in current World Trade Organization Non-Agricultural Market Access negotiations.
According to the industry letter, the European proposal restricts flexibility and choice of international standards by designating a short list of specific organizations as international standards developing organizations and suggesting that only the standards developed by these organizations are relevant internationally within the context of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.
Current WTO policy encourages its 153 member countries to eliminate unnecessary barriers to trade by ensuring that international standards utilized for trade and regulatory purposes are developed with open, impartial and transparent principles that afford an opportunity for consensus among all interested parties. This principle-based approach allows industry and governments alike to choose from a broad portfolio of international standards based upon important criteria such as technical quality, market relevance and suitability. The European proposal undermines this internationally agreed-upon approach by limiting choices based on whether the standard was developed by a specific organization on the approved list of standardizing bodies.
“ASTM International shares the concerns expressed by business groups and trade associations regarding the European proposal on international standards,” says ASTM International President James A. Thomas. “In today’s globally competitive economy, industries need the flexibility to choose international standards that best match their technical needs and market-based objectives.”
“Achieving greater standards cooperation and regulatory convergence are key commitments embodied in the Transatlantic Economic Council and its U.S.–EU High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum,” says Sean Heather, executive director of global regulatory cooperation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We are concerned that the European proposal undermines the mutual commitment to move beyond differences over standards policy that was intended to foster more effective standards cooperation in areas of emerging regulation.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been actively engaged in coordinating U.S. industry engagement in support of TEC objectives.
The leading business groups and industry trade associations that signed the letter are: the Aluminum Association, Aluminum Extruders Council, American Apparel and Footwear Association, American Automotive Policy Council, American Cleaning Institute, American Iron and Steel Institute, American Petroleum Institute, American Wood Council, Association of Global Automakers, Emergency Committee for American Trade, European-American Business Council, National Association of Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council, NEMA: The Association of Electrical and Medical Imaging Equipment Manufacturers, Portland Cement Association, Renewable Fuels Association, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, United States Council for International Business, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
For more information regarding ASTM’s global policy and stakeholder outreach efforts, contact Jeff Grove, vice president, global policy and industry affairs (phone: 202-223-8505).
Zambia Standards Official Speaks at Southern Africa Development Community Meeting
Zambia MOU Perspectives Presented
Margaret Lungu, ASTM Standards Expert Program alumna (2006), of the Zambia Bureau of Standards, presented the Zambian perspective on the benefits of the ASTM memorandum of understanding program at the meeting of the Southern African Development Community — Cooperation in Standardization on March 23. The SADC-STAN met in conjunction with the annual meetings of the SADC — Standardization, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SADC-SQAM) in Gaborone, Botswana.
SADC is a treaty organization with the objective of fostering socio-economic growth among its member states. SADC-STAN promotes the coordination of standardization activities and services in the region with the purpose of achieving harmonization of standards and technical regulations. Lungu’s presentation was part of ASTM’s presentation to the leaders of the 15 national standards bodies comprising the SADC. ASTM has signed MOUs with nine of the 15 SADC members.
Teresa Cendrowska, vice president of global cooperation at ASTM International, took the opportunity to underscore information about the ASTM MOU program, related training programs available to MOU signatories and the value of standards in regulation and trade, as well as to recommend committee participation and utilization of ASTM’s electronic tools. ASTM invited three MOU partners — Mozambique’s Instituto Nacional de Normalização e Qualidade, South African Bureau of Standards and Zambia Bureau of Standards — to present information on the benefits they have accrued as ASTM MOU signatories. The presentation was well received, generated several questions and identified opportunities for additional collaboration with existing MOU partners and the potential for new MOU partners.
Henry L. Green, president of the National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, D.C., and Ryan Colker, NIBS presidential adviser, visited ASTM International staff at ASTM headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa., to discuss programs and opportunities to work together. Shown from left: Anthony Quinn, director of public policy and international trade, ASTM; Katharine Morgan, vice president of technical committee operations, ASTM; James A. Thomas, president, ASTM; Green; Colker; Pat Picariello, director of developmental operations, ASTM; and Stephen Mawn, staff manager, ASTM.
Joseph G. O’Grady, 1927 - 2011
Former President of ASTM
Joseph G. O’Grady, who served as president of
ASTM International from 1985 until his retirement in 1992, died on April 16. Prior to serving as president, O’Grady
was vice president from 1983 to 1985.
O’Grady is survived by his wife, Muriel C. O’Grady,
three sons, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A complete obituary will be
published in the July/August issue of SN.
CPSC Chairman Recognizes ASTM International for Consumer Safety Efforts
Tenenbaum Remarks on ASTM Crib Standards at Meeting of International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization
The successful promulgation of ASTM standards F1169, Consumer Safety Specification for Full-Size Baby Cribs, and F406, Consumer Safety Specification for Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs/Play Yards, as mandatory rules covering full-size and non-full size cribs, was among the key initiatives pursued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission during the last year, according to Inez Tenenbaum, chairman, CPSC. Tenenbaum made these remarks during her keynote address at the meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization on Feb. 24, in Orlando, Fla.
In addition to the highly publicized crib standards, Tenenbaum noted that two other ASTM standards called for in Section 104 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act were approved by the commission. According to the chairman, “They may not have garnered the same level of attention that cribs did, but a lot of time and effort still went into crafting the rules. I’m referring to baby bath seats and baby walkers, and I’m pleased to report that the votes to establish new federal standards for both products were also unanimous.”
The new rules that were approved by the CPSC make adherence to F1967, Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Bath Seats, and F977, Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Walkers, mandatory requirements for these products when manufactured or sold in the United States. Among the reasons for the recent rulemakings, Tenenbaum remarked, “The bathtub and the stairs are clearly two of the most high-risk places in the home for babies and toddlers, and these two rules will help prevent drownings and serious falls. ASTM leadership and the subcommittee members played a positive role in working with CPSC staff on upgrading these standards from voluntary to mandatory. I want to thank ASTM for responding to my call to bring new thinking and speed to the standards development process.”
CPSC staff has been working closely with ASTM Committee F15 on Consumer Products for many years to help develop effective consumer product safety standards, and these activities have accelerated since the U.S. Congress approved the CPSIA in 2008.
Under the CPSIA, Section 104, the commission is required to promulgate mandatory standards for at least 12 juvenile product categories at a rate of two every six months. Committee F15 and its subcommittees have been collaborating with CPSC staff to critically examine and update existing voluntary standards in these areas so that they could be incorporated as new mandatory requirements. The product engineers, retailers, test labs, consumer advocates and other safety experts participating in the ASTM F15 subcommittees work closely with CPSC to evaluate death and injury data, hazard patterns and recent recalls to assure that the standards adequately address safety concerns. These cooperative activities can also lead to developing new testing protocols and conducting laboratory tests to validate testing approaches.
“It is wonderful for Chairman Tenenbaum to recognize the efforts of the ASTM volunteer members and the effectiveness of the ASTM process,” noted Paul Giampavolo, Committee F15 chairman and president of SafeStrap Co. Inc. in Wharton, N.J. “The recent rulemakings really demonstrate how the bar for consumer safety can be raised when the regulators and the industry and consumer stakeholders work cooperatively toward the same goal.”
Nominations Sought for Reinhart and Voss Awards
Frank W. Reinhart Award
Nominations are sought for the 2011 Frank W. Reinhart Award, which honors a technical committee, a subcommittee or an individual ASTM member who has made outstanding and unusual contributions to the organization in the realm of terminology standardization.
The award, established in 1981, honors the late Reinhart, who was active in ASTM terminology work for many years. Reinhart exemplified the intent of the award through his dedication to the use of correct and appropriate technical terminology in ASTM standards.
The Subcommittee on Form and Style, part of the Committee on Standards, administers the Reinhart Award. Nominations documenting the contributions of the candidate must be postmarked by Aug. 1 and forwarded to Barbara Smith, ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, Pa., 19428 (phone: 610-832-9684).
Walter C. Voss Award
Nominations are requested for the 2011 Walter C. Voss Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to advancing knowledge in the building technology field. The award honors longtime member and former chairman of Committee C07 on Lime, Walter C. Voss.
Presented to an engineer, scientist or other professional in the trade, both ASTM members and nonmembers are eligible. Nominations should indicate how the nominee has contributed to advancing knowledge in the building technology field. Emphasis should be placed on those using materials that have led to significant advances, innovations or creative efforts that have benefited the entire construction industry and encouraged its fundamental development.
Nominations documenting the contributions of the candidate must be postmarked no later than Aug. 1 and forwarded to Barbara Smith, ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, Pa., 19428 (phone: 610-832-9684).
Subcommittee F15.42 on Furniture Safety donated an armoire used for a demonstration during a meeting on furniture tipover standards at ASTM International headquarters to the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund earlier this year. The Dolan Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the uninsured needs of families caring for children with severe illness, injury or disability and added the armoire to its Wine in Winter silent auction fundraising event. Shown are Leonard Morrissey (left), ASTM staff manager for Committee F15 on Consumer Products, and Peggy Dolan, executive director, Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund.
ASTM International has donated two portable radios to the Washington Fire Co. in Conshohocken, Pa. The radios, which cost $2,900 each, are used by firefighters to communicate with each other and with other police, fire and emergency medical services personnel during emergency situations. Shown from left are Robert Bendig, director, general services, ASTM; Joseph Daywalt, firefighter, Washington Fire Co.; Michael Maxwell, captain, Washington Fire Co.; Robert Zinni, deputy fire marshal, Conshohocken borough; and Kenneth Pearson, senior vice president, ASTM. Daywalt and Zinni are holding the donated radios, while Maxwell is holding a thermal imaging camera, donated by ASTM last year, that assists in locating both fire and people in emergency situations.
ASTM International Hosts Regional NATAS Symposium
From left: Shravan Thakur, Cleveland State; Alan Riga, adjunct professor, Cleveland State; Ileane Smith, ASTM; and Dhruthiman Mantheni, Cleveland State, at the NATAS Symposium.
On March 23, the local section of the North American Thermal Analysis Society held their annual symposium at ASTM headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa.
The symposium included a supplementary poster session supported by the Thermal Analysis Forum of the Delaware Valley and ASTM Committee E37 on Thermal Measurements, where several students presented papers and supporting materials.
Among the papers presented during the event was the winning paper from ASTM’s 2010 senior design project grant contest, written by students Manik Pavan Maheswaram, Dhruthiman R. Mantheni and Shravan Singh Thakur from Cleveland State University. Under the guidance of adjunct professor Alan T. Riga, Ph.D., the students received a $500 grant for the paper, “Universal Standard Protocol for Temperature and Material Characterization Calibration with Pharmaceuticals.”
For more information about Committee E37, contact Thomas O’Toole, manager, ASTM technical committee operations (phone: 610-832-9739).
For information about ASTM student memberships, grants and scholarships, click here, or contact Ileane Smith, manager, member promotion and academic outreach (phone: 610-832-9552).
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