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ASTM International Signs MOU with Standardization Administration of China

ASTM International has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) to strengthen the relationship between the two organizations. The MOU was signed in Beijing on August 20 by ASTM International President James A. Thomas and SAC Vice Administrator Zhang Yanhua. Witnesses included SAC Administrator Li Zhonghai and Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Ben Wu.

The signing, along with participation in standardization workshops held in Beijing earlier that week, is the latest step in ASTM’s ongoing involvement in Chinese standardization. The MOU will enhance the ability of SAC and ASTM International to support the needs of the Chinese people and aid in the development of Chinese national standards for health, safety, and the environment.

Following the signing, Thomas stated, “ASTM standards have a century of history in the world’s marketplace helping to ensure good quality products and accurate testing procedures. With China’s trade topping $400 billion for both imports and exports in 2003, standards are of the utmost importance. The signing of this MOU with the SAC is a great step forward to encouraging greater access to ASTM standards in China as well as a bigger voice by Chinese experts in the content of ASTM standards.”

ASTM International and SAC agreed to explore cooperation opportunities for standards development in areas of mutual interest; promote communication and knowledge between the two organizations; and promote greater Chinese participation in the ASTM standards development process.

Part of the MOU agreement involves ASTM annually providing the full collection of ASTM standards to SAC; jointly sponsoring standards and training programs; providing participating membership to SAC representatives on ASTM technical committees; and providing internship programs for SAC experts to come to ASTM International Headquarters for extended study of the ASTM International standards development process.

In return, SAC will promote the acceptance and use of ASTM standards in China; utilize the resources of ASTM International to develop Chinese National Standards and reference ASTM standards where applicable in Chinese National Standards; and provide access to current ASTM standards, including a link to ASTM International’s Web site on the SAC home page. SAC will also facilitate connections between Chinese technical experts and ASTM International technical committees to ensure that the standards meet the needs of Chinese industry.

ASTM International has had a presence in China for many years. Its involvement includes agreements with other standards organizations including the Chinese National Institute of Standardization (CNIS) and the Shanghai Institute of Standardization (SIS). In addition, ASTM has published an annual Chinese version of SN, as a joint venture with the China Association for Standardization (CAS) since 1991. SAC currently reports that it uses nearly 500 ASTM standards as the basis for its national standards in China.

The spirit of cooperation continued during the week of the MOU signing with ASTM International’s participation in the 2004 U.S.-China Standards and Conformity Assessment Workshop, also held in Beijing. The workshop featured presentations from ASTM committee members Paul Whitcraft, director, quality assurance and engineering, Rolled Alloys, on current market realities in the global steel market, and Salvatore Rand, a petroleum industry consultant, on specifications and testing for gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels. //

Li Zhonghai, administrator of SAC, and Jim Thomas, president of ASTM, pose for a picture after the MOU signing ceremony.
Madame Zhang Yanhua, vice administrator of the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China and James Thomas, president, ASTM International (both seated) sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two standards organizations. Standing from left: Ms. Huang Li, Department of International Standards, SAC; Ms. Heidi Hijikata, standards liaison, U.S. Department of Commerce; Mr. Benjamin Wu, deputy undersecretary for Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce; Mr. Li Zhonghai, administrator, SAC; Mr. Zhang Lin, director general, Department of International Standards, SAC; Mr. Qiu Qingjun, general director of planning and information, SAC; and Ms. Chen Ying, SAC.

U.S. Department of Commerce Promotes Trade and Addresses Standards Issues at U.S.-China Workshop in Beijing

A 70-member U.S. industry-government delegation attended a two-day workshop in Beijing in August in order to address one of the most challenging issues facing the U.S.-China trade relationship. The U.S.-China Standards and Conformity Assessment Workshop, held on Aug. 18-19, was hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to seek greater cooperation in standards development and conformity assessment issues. The U.S. delegation represented major industrial sectors, leading corporations, and top standards organizations, including ASTM International.

The workshop addressed industry concerns that standards can be used as technical barriers to trade. Over 150 U.S. and Chinese government and private sector standards and conformity assessment experts attended the two-day event, consisting of four sessions covering information technology/telecom standards; steel/petroleum and water conservation/energy efficiency standards; electrical safety, gas appliance, and HVAC standards; and hydrogen infrastructure/elevators standards. Representatives of these organizations spoke about expanding standards cooperation, opportunities to remove market barriers, trends in each country’s standards development process, and the importance of a voluntary standards system to the growth of technology innovation. //

ASTM International Committee D13 on Textiles and AATCC Sign Memorandum of Understanding

ASTM International Committee D13 on Textiles and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists recently signed a memorandum of understanding to serve together as administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for ISO/TC 38 on Textiles. ASTM Committee D13 and AATCC had been serving as interim TAG co-administrators since the previous administrator, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, disbanded earlier this year.

The purpose of the ISO/TC 38 TAG is to formulate the U.S. position on documents of interest pertaining to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on textile standards, to articulate U.S. opinions, and to approve delegates to ISO/TC 38 meetings.

In addition to their TAG responsibilities, ASTM Committee D13 and AATCC have a history of working together, particularly through a joint ASTM/AATCC committee that works to foster coordination of textile standards activity in a variety of ways, including sponsoring exploratory meetings for the development of new standards that are of mutual interest to both organizations, reviewing new standards activities and programs, and advising as to which organization might be appropriate to develop standards of mutual interest. The newly signed MOU reaffirms the importance of the joint committee. //

ASTM Provides Virtual Training in Spanish to Bolivian National Standards Body

Staff members from the Bolivian Institute of Normalization and Quality (IBNORCA) recently participated in a virtual training course conducted from ASTM Headquarters via telephone and the Internet to IBNORCA offices in three different cities in Bolivia. While this was not the first time ASTM has conducted such an intercontinental virtual training course (a session with the Sri Lanka Standards Institute occurred in March), it was the first time the presentation was given entirely in Spanish.

The training is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2001 between ASTM International and IBNORCA, the national standards body of Bolivia. The MOU, which is one of 30 that ASTM has signed with developing countries since 2002, provides for assistance to IBNORCA in the form of publication agreements, training, membership in ASTM technical committees, and attendance at symposia.

Three topics of the training were 1) how to identify standards development activities on the ASTM Web site, 2) an introduction to ASTM’s balloting process and instruction on how to complete an electronic ballot, and 3) a tour of the ASTM member’s area.

Training took place Aug. 17 with the IBNORCA office in La Paz and the following day with offices in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Jim Olshefsky, ASTM director of committee services, facilitated the sessions, with help from Jessica Hychalk, ASTM customer service representative, and Derek Franco, ASTM manager of customer service.

Virtual training is available to all national standards bodies who have signed MOUs with ASTM International. For more information, contact Kitty Kono, vice president of global cooperation, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9687). //

Spanish-Language Environmental Site Assessment Class to Be Taught in Peru

STM International’s first training course to be taught in Spanish will be offered in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 12 through ASTM’s training partner, EnginZone. EnginZone, one of five international training partners offering ASTM training courses taught in the native language of the region, will conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment class.

The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment training will explain why the ASTM standards E 1527, Practice for the Phase I Site Assessment and E 1528, Practice for Transaction Screen Process, were developed by ASTM Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and Corrective Action, as well as providing information on how to use these standards. For more
information on this class, contact EnginZone (phone: (51) (1) 344-0345). //

ASTM Sponsors Local Tee Shirt Contest for Kids

ASTM International sponsored the MacKenzie Park Tee Shirt Design contest again this summer in West Conshohocken, Pa., site of ASTM International Headquarters. On Aug. 18, winners in three different age categories were recognized for their creativity by ASTM staff members. Cash prizes and certificates were awarded at the park to the top contestants.

ASTM International provided tee shirts of the three winning designs to the participants in this year’s West Conshohocken Summer Park Program. ASTM International also sponsored special trips this summer to the New Jersey State Aquarium and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Water Works as part of the park program. //

Kids from the West Conshohocken Summer Park Program pose in the shirts they designed in MacKenzie Park Tee Shirt Design Contest sponsored by ASTM International.

Copyright 2004, ASTM International