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ASTM Participating in ANSI’s Regional Standing Committees

ASTM representatives will take part in building and maintaining strong regional relationships by participating in the activities of two of the American National Standards Institute’s three Regional Standing Committees (RSCs). ANSI has formed RSCs for the Americas; Asia Pacific; and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The RSCs will allow the U.S. to intensify and broaden its participation in regional standardization and conformity assessment activities at policy levels.

Teresa Cendrowska, ASTM’s director of External Relations, participated in a 15-member delegation to Argentina and Brazil in April. The group, ANSI’s RSC for the Americas, discussed ways of strengthening ties and beginning a dialogue for future initiatives with the leading standards organizations in the region. Also in the Americas, ASTM Vice President of Global Cooperation Kitty Kono will join a 14-member delegation to the General Assembly meeting of the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) later this month.

Kono will also attend the June meeting of the Pacific Area Standards Conference (PASC), a voluntary, independent organization of Pacific area national standards organizations, as part of the Asia Pacific RSC. The draft agenda for the meeting, to be held in Fiji, includes a series of workshops that will focus on such topics as increasing the participation in standards development activities of developing countries in the region, enhancing consumer involvement in regional standardization and the proposed revisions to the PASC charter entitled “New Directions.”

New Journal from WTO

World Trade Organization Director-General Mike Moore announced today the launch of a new scholarly journal, the World Trade Review, as a joint initiative between the WTO and Cambridge University Press (CUP). “The mission of this journal is to publish peer-reviewed articles which contribute to public discussion and debate about the multilateral trading system”, said Moore. “Though it is an initiative of the WTO Secretariat, in close collaboration with CUP, the journal has an independent editorial policy and board. The aim of the journal is to deepen understanding of issues facing the international trading system through critical analysis and constructive debate.”The World Trade Review, with three issues per year, will invite articles from a wide range of specialists world-wide that address trade issues from economic, legal, political and inter-disciplinary perspectives. A rigorous peer review process will assure that articles meet high standards in terms of theoretical and methodological rigor. Contact Jean-Guy Carrier, World Trade Organization (phone: +41 22 739 5439; fax: +41-22 739 57 92).

“Standards Mean Business” Set as 2002 World Standards Day Theme

The Planning Committee of the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day recently announced that it has selected “Standards Mean Business” as the theme for World Standards Day 2002. This year’s theme reflects the critical role that open, consensus-based industry standards play in facilitating local, national, and global trade and commerce. The U.S. standards and conformity assessment community will celebrate World Standards Day with a special exhibition, reception, and dinner on Wed., Oct. 16 in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Also on the agenda will be a presentation of the first place award to the winner(s) of the World Standards Day Paper Contest. This annual competition, co-sponsored by the WSD Planning Committee and the Standards Engineering Society, is designed to raise the awareness of the importance of standards, as well as present various perspectives on national and international standards issues as they apply to the WSD theme.

New Leadership in Two Key SDOs

Two prestigious standards-developing organizations, NFPA and ASME, have named new leaders. The National Fire Protection Association board of directors unanimously elected James M. Shannon to be the organization’s president and chief executive officer. Shannon succeeds George D. Miller, who is retiring after 10 years. Shannon has served as NFPA senior vice president and general counsel since 1991. He oversees all legal affairs of the association and also has administrative and real estate responsibility for NFPA’s properties. Shannon has had a visible role in the organization’s operations and government affairs, both domestically and abroad. Previously, he was elected attorney general of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where he pursued numerous policy issues, including a focus on antitrust.

ASME International (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) has announced that Virgil R. Carter has been named executive director, effective July 1. He succeeds David L. Belden, Ph.D., P.E., who is retiring after serving in that position since 1987. As executive director of ASME, Carter will have overall operational management responsibility for all society funds and program activities, including long-range planning, conferences, publications, e-commerce, member affairs, education, research, codes and standards development, and public affairs. In addition to activities in the United States, he will have responsibility for relationships with technical organizations throughout the world, particularly in those 60 nations in which ASME has formal agreements of cooperation with scientific and technical organizations.

White Paper Aligns Principles of WTO Report and U.S. National Standards Strategy

In an effort to coordinate the positions of the U.S. public and private sectors regarding international standardization, the American National Standards Institute’s International Committee (IC) has published a white paper to advance the tenets of a report on the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the U.S. National Standards Strategy (NSS), a document that was approved by the ANSI board of directors in August 2000.

Developed by an IC task group chaired by ASME International’s June Ling, a member of ANSI’s board of directors, the “ANSI Paper on International Standards Development and Use” advocates the concept that the principles and actual use of a standard should drive its acceptance at the international level rather than by the organization that publishes the standard. These views may contradict previous interpretations of the TBT that advocated the recognition of international standards developed exclusively by organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The paper notes several areas wherein the concepts of the WTO report and the NSS are very closely aligned and advances the concept that effective and valued international standardization can best be achieved through the recognition of sector driven standards and adherence to basic principles of standards development.

NIST Sees Increasing Use of Private-Sector Standards by U.S. Federal Agencies

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a statement citing that federal agencies doubled their use of private-sector standards in regulations and procurement actions during fiscal year 2000. This conclusion, which was summarized in the “Fourth Annual Report on Federal Agency Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards”—a congressionally mandated report produced annually by NIST—further indicates that the progress is intended to increase government efficiency while reducing compliance burdens. Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA), signed into law in 1996, federal agencies are directed to adopt private-sector standards whenever possible, especially those developed by established bodies using open, formal procedures that rely on consensus among affected parties. According to the report, during the FY 2000 reporting period, 28 agencies and cabinet-level departments used 5,453 voluntary consensus standards in new or revised regulations and specifications issued—double the number reported during the previous fiscal year. Equally important, these agencies introduced only 16 government-unique standards and eliminated 537 existing ones. //

Copyright 2002, ASTM