||Progress on National Standards Strategy Revision
The National Standards Strategy Committee and its subgroups have kept up an aggressive pace toward the revision of the U.S. National Standards Strategy. Four meetings of the NSSC itself, along with numerous meetings and teleconferences of its subgroups, have been held since the committee was convened earlier this year. The first-ever National Standards Strategy was approved in August 2000, and called for a regular review to determine whether new situations dictate strategic revisions and offer new opportunities; the NSSC was established to consider these revisions. More than 100 representatives of the standards and conformity assessment community are currently participating directly in the revision process. Early agreement was reached on several principles to be included in the strategy. Key among these is continued support for the current sectoral approach to U.S. standardization. Other topics that are being developed include mitigation of the use of standards as trade barriers, the need to educate policy and decision makers on standardization issues, protection of the pluralistic funding of the U.S. standards system, and a tactical initiative addressing embedded intellectual property in standards. During its most recent meeting, NSSC members focused on painting a factual picture of the landscape, including recognition of consortia under the umbrella of standards developing bodies and the need for standards to support emerging national priorities. Support is being garnered for government endorsement of the strategy, as well as an ongoing performance reporting mechanism. Currently, the tentative schedule calls for delivery of a draft second edition of the strategy for review and comment by the middle of this month. The American
National Standards Institute board of directors is expected to give final approval to the revised document in May. For more information on the NSSC or to submit input, contact Joseph Tretler, business director, standards facilitation, ANSI (phone: 212/642-4977), or visit the ANSI Web site.
Trade, Debt and Finance
A World Trade Organization discussion paper, The Trade, Debt and Finance Nexus: At the Cross-Roads of Micro- and Macroeconomics, provides clarification of this multi-faceted and complex relationship, and how the WTO is part of a national and international effort to address some of the challenges raised by these relationships. The paper reviews some of the theoretical links and existing literature on the subject, and analyzes practical steps and priorities that are directly addressed in the newly established WTO Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance. Finally, the paper addresses the issue of coherence in the work of international organizations on some of the links highlighted in the first section. To learn more, click here.
ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board to Replace ANSI-RAB NAP
The American National Standards Institute and the American Society for Quality have agreed to form a new American national accreditation body. The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board replaced the ANSI-Registrar Accreditation Board National Accreditation Program as of Jan. 1. ANAB was formed in response to the adoption of International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 17011, Conformity Assessment General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Conformity Assessment Bodies, which requires that a national accreditation body be a legal entity. The ANSI-RAB NAP as currently structured does not meet that requirement. ANAB will also be divorced from RABs personnel certification programs, because ISO/IEC 17011 prohibits a body from engaging in both accreditation and certification activities. Certification/registration bodies accredited by the ANSI-RAB NAP automatically converted to ANAB accreditation as of Jan. 1 and will receive the new ANAB accreditation mark for use with their registered clients. Existing certificates will be revised on the clients normal recertification schedules.
Recipients of 2004 Baldrige Award Announced
Four organizations have received the 2004 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the United States only presidential award for quality and organizational performance excellence. The recipients are: The Bama Companies, Tulsa, Okla. (manufacturing category); Texas Nameplate Company, Inc., Dallas, Texas (small business category); Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business, Greeley, Colo. (education category); and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Hamilton, N.J. (health care category). These recipients were selected from among 60 applicants.
National Engineers Week 2005
National Engineers Week 2005 will be celebrated Feb. 20-26. The goal of the week is to demonstrate the importance and excitement of engineering to students in order to attract the attention of the next generation the young men and women whose work as engineers will shape life around the world throughout the 21st century. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer for National Engineers Week programs in your locality. See the National Engineers Week Web site.
NFPA Signs Agreement with Chinese Committee for Code and Standard Translation
The National Fire Protection Association and the Peoples Republic of Chinas National Technical Committee for Fire Protection Standardization, a committee of the Fire Department in Chinas Ministry of Public Security, have signed an agreement under which 26 NFPA codes and standards will be translated into Chinese and used in the coming months. The licensing agreement was signed in Beijing by James M. Shannon, NFPA president, and Major General Guo of the Ministry of Public Security in China. The Fire Department will translate the codes, and NFPA will follow up with training. The translation and use of these NFPA codes and standards will guide Chinese authorities as they ready sites for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
FSCT Launches New Advancements in Coatings Series
The Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology has introduced its new Advancements in Coatings Series. These programs have been developed in response to the industrys need for ongoing access to information on new technologies and new solutions. To be offered in various regional locations throughout the United States, the ACSeries programs are geared toward an international audience and will focus on topics of greatest interest to the coatings and allied industries. Plans are under way for the first three ACSeries programs: Research Methods in the 21st Century: A Toolkit for Competitive Advantage, New Orleans, La., in May; Nanotechnology in Coatings: Realizing the Potential, Seattle, Wash., in June; and Coating Wood and Wood Composites: The Changing Future, Charlotte, N.C., in September. A call for papers has been issued for all three programs. For more information, contact FSCT (phone: 610/940-0777). //