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A Landmark of U.S.-Chinese Cooperation
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 September 2006 Inside ASTM
Liu Fei joined the Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment in March 2005 as the director of operations. He is responsible for the office’s day-to-day operations, networking, government affairs, consulting and research on standards and industry development, conferencing and training organization and management, etc., with a focus on promoting the standards development and conformity assessment system of the consortium members.

Report from the Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment

A Landmark of U.S.-Chinese Cooperation

In the past decade, booming trade volume between North America and China has been offset by increasing trade disputes. Both the United States and China have recognized that they need common ground, and a partnership in standardization has appeared in recent years.

Foundation

Spurred by a 2003 agreement between former U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and China’s General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) Minister Li Changjiang, the Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment was formed at the end of 2004 under an agreement among four of the largest U.S.-based standards development organizations — the American Petroleum Institute, ASME International, ASTM International, and CSA America, Inc. The consortium was organized to support the already large and ever-increasing trade between North America and China and to address the need for quality and reliability in manufacturing processes, the specific goal of which is to ensure that products bought and sold in both China and the United States are safe, reliable and of high quality and workmanship.

Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment staff members Chris Lanzit, executive director; Leona Fu, office manager; and Liu Fei, operations director.

Each standards organization covers distinct areas in the fields of energy (oil, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells), power generation (both nuclear and conventional), and materials (for the building, steel, nuclear and consumer goods sectors), as well as many other fields of industry and commerce. They formed the consortium to pursue a general objective of working more closely with China on the development and adoption of international standards and conformity assessment procedures.

A Year of Activity

In its first year, the CSCA China office achieved all of the objectives set forth in its program plan.

• The office began operating from dedicated office space within the American Chamber of Commerce in China in early February 2005.
• Executive Director Chris Lanzit and Operations Director Liu Fei were engaged as the first two employees within the first month of operation. They were later joined in August 2005 by Office Manager Leona Fu.
• On May 23, 2005, CSCA held a grand inauguration in Beijing, where over 150 people, including representatives from the U.S. business community, Chinese industry, Chinese standards and conformity assessment organizations, and the U.S. government were present. U.S. Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt, Jr., made remarks before the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, as did the president of each of the four member organizations.
• In early August 2005, the CSCA China office participated in the U.S.-China Standards and Conformity Assessment Workshop, organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce and China’s AQSIQ. Liu Fei accompanied a delegation from the Standards Administration of China (SAC) to the workshop held in Washington, D.C.
• In late August 2005, Lanzit participated in the inaugural Sino-American Consumer Product Safety Summit. Commissioner Hal Stratton of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and senior executives from major U.S. retailers participated in the summit and follow-up workshop. Issues such as toy safety, lighter and fireworks safety, and electrical equipment hazard reduction were addressed. The CPSC signed a memorandum of understanding with AQSIQ on further cooperation and has developed a China Program Plan (www.cpsc.gov/ businfo/china/planaction/pdf).
• At the end of October 2005, the CSCA China office participated in a Seminar on the International Market for Petroleum and Petrochemical Equipment in Xi’an, Shanxi Province, which was organized by the China Petroleum and Petrochemical Equipment Industry Association. Liu Fei represented CSCA and made a presentation on its activities to an audience from the Chinese petroleum industry and related equipment manufacturers, and to representatives from the Romanian, Tanzanian and Nigerian governments.
• In November 2005, delegations from two consortium member organizations — CSA America and ASME International — were in Beijing for a week of meetings on their standards activities. The meetings further deepened and broadened the cooperation between the organizations and their Chinese counterparts.
• In early January 2006, Lanzit and Liu Fei participated in a workshop on China’s technology standards policy. The workshop was organized by the National Bureau of Asian Research and Tsinghua University, and sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It brought together academicians, industry observers and Chinese experts on standards development strategy and policy. Later this year the organizers plan to issue the papers presented at the workshop along with policy recommendations to the Chinese government.
• In mid-January 2006, ASTM staff visited Shanghai and Beijing and conducted training seminars for its partners, the Shanghai Institute of Standardization and the China National Institute of Standardization, and Chinese members of ASTM technical committees. The training consisted of the ASTM general standards-setting system and relevant online balloting processes.
• In early March 2006, CSCA participated in a Seminar on Standards in the International Engineering Contracts, organized by the China Association for International Engineering Consulting. Chris Lanzit and Liu Fei presented an overview of CSCA and its members, as well as some specific information about engineering standards on behalf of ASME International.
• In late April 2006, American Petroleum Institute staff members traveled to China for about 10 days to hold two seminars with the China Petroleum Technology Development Corporation and Moody International Certification Ltd. counterparts in China. The purpose of the seminars was to train Chinese participants on API certification programs.
• In addition, CSCA also attended several seminars on gas appliance and equipment standards application in Dalian, Liaoning Province and in Tianjin City.
• In mid-May 2006, CSCA moved out of the American Chamber of Commerce China office and into its own office space nearby.

Over a Year of Progress

Since early 2005, the CSCA China office and individual consortium members have focused on establishing and expanding relationships with key government organizations involved in standards and conformity assessment as well as with a number of industry associations involved in developing standards in China. Among these organizations, the Standardization Administration of China especially serves as China’s national-level standards-setting agency and, on behalf of China, participates in developing standards through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission, and other standards developing organizations.

Since CSCA’s founding, its members, particularly ASTM International, have concentrated on building relationships with SAC. A number of Chinese technical experts have joined ASTM technical committees. These Chinese members are given training on ASTM’s standards development process and participate in the revision or development of new standards. It is hoped that participation in standards development by Chinese experts can be greatly expanded and the idea of participatory and open development of standards will be fostered in China.

Looking Ahead

In the next year, CSCA plans to continue its activities with SAC, the China National Certification Administration and other related organizations to further the objectives of cooperating with China on standards and conformity assessment in general and on the objectives of the consortium’s four members in particular. The past year has been a rewarding and fulfilling one for the newly established China office and it aims to continue its work in this critical field and to raise awareness of its activities over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, three of CSCA members – API, ASME International and ASTM International — will establish their own representative offices and continue to work together with the CSCA China office on the activities of standards and conformity assessment. //

 
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