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ASTM International Informs Congressional Review of Standards

James Seay, Committee F24 Chairman, and Mary Saunders, ASTM Board Member, Address Committee

Leading standards experts from ASTM International testified Feb. 29 before a committee of the U.S. Congress during a review of the effectiveness of the U.S. standards system.

James L. Seay, chairman of ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices and president of the amusement ride designer and supplier Premier Rides, Baltimore, Md., represented ASTM International on the panel of witnesses and described the beneficial results of the public–private collaboration in the development of voluntary consensus standards.

As the president of an innovative small business, Seay discussed ASTM’s ability to provide an open and transparent forum “where the voice and expertise of all stakeholders — including those from small businesses and consumer groups — contribute directly to the development of international standards that are grounded in technical quality and market relevance.”

As the congressional discussion turned to the standards policies of the United States and its global trade partners, Seay recommended that countries and regions strive to embrace the international standards criteria established by the World Trade Organization and recognize the flexibility to choose from a broad portfolio of international standards that includes those of ASTM International.

“For the amusement industry and others, ASTM standards are utilized around the world in support of regulatory and business objectives because they meet WTO criteria, have multinational involvement in their development, and they have global reach in their application. Barriers to their acceptance often results in expensive and time-consuming efforts to develop duplicative and potentially conflicting standards,” concluded Seay.

Mary H. Saunders, director of the Standards Coordination Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, also testified at the hearing and provided important insight into the efforts of the federal government to support the effectiveness of the U.S. standards system and advance the competitiveness of U.S. industry. ASTM International is fortunate to count more than 150 NIST scientists in the standards development initiatives of ASTM technical committees; Saunders currently serves on the ASTM board of directors and is a member of Committee E60 on Sustainability.

More information concerning the Feb. 29 hearing is available at the Web page of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.