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Kitty Kono, ASTM vice president for Global Cooperation and Mahmoud Eisa, president of EOS, sign a memorandum of understanding in Cairo.

Cooperation with Egypt

In October, the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality Control (EOS) welcomed ASTM Vice President of Global Cooperation Kitty Kono at their offices in Cairo for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations. The MOU was the 15th to be signed in the last 12 months and the second with an African nation. The memorandum’s goals are to:

• Promote communication between the two organizations;
• Avoid duplication of effort where possible;
• Mutually promote each organization’s standards development activities;
• Utilize ASTM International’s resources to strengthen the Egyptian national standards system; and
w Promote the worldwide acceptance and use of ASTM standards.

At the signing ceremony, Kono addressed 40 members of EOS senior staff about the U.S. and ASTM standardization development processes and the possibilities for cooperation between ASTM International and EOS. She and EOS President Mahmoud Eisa signed the agreement, which specifies numerous avenues for this cooperation.

EOS also arranged a private meeting between Kono and Ali Fahmy El-Saiedi, Ph.D., the Egyptian cabinet minister of industry and technological development. The minister is a distinguished professional in the area of nuclear technology who worked for many years prior to his cabinet appointment in atomic energy research and technical implementation in Egypt and with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Kono and El-Saiedi discussed the relationship between ASTM International and Egyptian industry.Kono credits the ongoing work of the U.S. Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program for creating the opportunity for EOS and ASTM to work together. CLDP hosts professionals in standardization and metrology from around the world for informational tours of U.S. standards development and related organizations. “CLDP brought two delegations from Egypt to ASTM as part of their program,” Kono says. “It is through CLDP’s hard work on programs such as this that this MOU was signed.” //

Avenues of Communication

During the U.S. celebration of World Standards Day in Washington, D.C., Oct. 15-17, ASTM President Jim Thomas and Vice President of Global Cooperation Kitty Kono provided a two-hour course on U.S. standardization processes to a group of Shanghai officials and business representatives. The course was held at the U.S. Department of Commerce under the auspices of the International Trade Administration. Kono and Thomas covered the role of the private sector in establishing U.S. standards and in federal regulation and trade policy, and ASTM International’s standards development process.

The Shanghai delegation was in the United States as part of an International Trade Administration study group. Members of the delegation were selected from a group of 100 Shanghai officials and business representatives who underwent an intensive six-month training course provided by the Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, one of China’s leading providers of World Trade Organization training. The Shanghai government selected members of the overseas group through a competitive process that included tests on WTO knowledge. The purpose of the training is to create a significant group of Chinese WTO experts who can serve as advisors to their respective agencies whenever WTO issues arise.

The group was in the United States from August to November. While in the United States, the group met with U.S. government officials to learn how the United States handles various aspects of its WTO obligations. //

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Workshop for the Americas

In September, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and ASME International collaborated with other stakeholders, including ASTM International, the American Petroleum Institute, Hartford Steam Boiler, and the American Boiler Manufacturers Association to offer a workshop aimed at officials from throughout the Americas on the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code in Hollywood, Fla. Technical experts and decision makers from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Venezuela discussed the development of boiler and pressure vessel rules and their adoption into local law. Trends among regulatory bodies and the industrial sector regarding operation, maintenance and the continued safe operation of pressure equipment and pipelines were also explored. //

Possible Cooperation Between ISO and ASTM Technical Committees May Reduce Duplication of Effort

In August, ASTM Committee F04 on Medical and Surgical Materials and Devices approached International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 150 on Implants for Surgery about the possibility of developing a memorandum of understanding designed to avoid the duplication of efforts in their standards work. Both committees, with membership from over 40 nations represented on each, share several participatory members.

Some of these “shared” members, including regulators and private industry, have voiced a preference to use one consensus, international standard, and have taken measures to reallocate resources to new development activities in the committees as opposed to shuffling technical documentation among similar standards groups. In an effort to avoid adding years onto development time resulting in multiple documents on the same topic, some subcommittees of TC 150 passed resolutions at their annual meeting in September to expand the use of normative references and to avoid overlap in workflow. Leadership from both technical committees are continuing efforts on this issue.

While the committee chairmen, ASTM staff, and the secretariat have discussed the topic on several occasions, and expressed a desire to work together, no formalized agreement has been reached. //

Copyright 2002, ASTM