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 May 2007
ASTM International News

Thomas and Kono Visit Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay

James Thomas, ASTM International president, and Kitty Kono, ASTM vice president, global cooperation, visited the standards bodies and relevant trade associations and government agencies of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay during the week of March 12. The purpose of their visit was to follow up on the memorandum of understanding signed with Uruguay and to build stronger relationships with national standards organizations and relevant industry sectors in Brazil and Argentina.

Officers of ABNT and ASTM International sign a business agreement. Shown, left to right:Ricardo Fragoso, general director, ABNT; James Thomas, president, ASTM International; and Carlos Amorim, director of development and information, ABNT.

During the trip, a business agreement was signed between ASTM International and ABNT, the national standards body of Brazil. Thomas and Kono also had the opportunity to meet with officials of the Brazilian Petroleum Company, Petrobras, and the Brazilian Institute of Petroleum.

James Thomas being interviewed on television about the importance of standards and trade for Uruguay.

In Uruguay, Thomas was a featured speaker at a workshop sponsored by UNIT, the national standards body of Uruguay, for some 50 leaders of industry and government who attended to learn more about ASTM standards and how to participate in the process. Thomas and Kono met with the Uruguayan minister of industry and the president of the industry chamber and Thomas was also interviewed about standardization on Uruguayan television.

James Thomas and Kitty Kono meet with Fernando Gomez, head of standardization, UNIT (left) and Pablo Benia, director, UNIT (right) at UNIT headquarters in Uruguay.

While in Argentina, the ASTM officials met with the chief representative of Underwriters Laboratories of Argentina as well as representatives of the environmental committee of the American Chamber of Commerce. ASTM also provided a draft MOU to IRAM, the national standards body of Argentina, for their consideration. //

At IRAM headquarters in Argentina, Thomas and Kono met with Luis Trama, director of standards, IRAM (left), and Mario Wittner, deputy general director, IRAM (right).

Russian National Standards Body Signs MOU with ASTM International

The national standards body of Russia signed an historic memorandum of understanding with ASTM International on April 4. The agreement was signed by Grigory I. Elkin, head of the Russian Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology, and James A. Thomas, president, ASTM International, during a meeting between the two executives at the Russian Federal Agency’s headquarters in Moscow.

The goals of the MOU are to “remove technical barriers in economic and trade relations, create greater efficiency in the development of standards, deliver greater quality products, provide environmental and labor safety, and recognize the mutual benefits to be derived from cooperation in the field of standardization.”

Grigory I. Elkin, head of the Russian Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology, and James Thomas, president, ASTM International, sign the historic MOU in Moscow on April 4.

Following the signing, Thomas stated, “With Russia’s aim to join the World Trade Organization in 2008, the MOU is a timely initiative that will foster much greater cooperation between Russia and ASTM International in the development of international standards.” ASTM International is one of the largest developers of international standards in the world, utilizing a process that embraces the principles of the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

Through the MOU, the Russian Federation joins 47 other countries that have also signed MOUs with ASTM International. The MOU provides the Russian Federation access to the full collection of ASTM’s 12,000 standards. ASTM standards are an important source of technological know-how to advance manufacturing productivity and product quality that will bolster the capability for Russia to export and compete in global markets.

The MOU also allows technical experts from Russian industry and scientific enterprises to influence the technical content of ASTM standards that are important to Russia’s economy through direct free participation in the ASTM standards development process. //

STAMEQ Recognized for Cooperative Agreements with ASTM, ANSI

Vietnam’s Directorate for Standards and Quality (STAMEQ) was presented with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade on March 7. Douglas Barry, director, marketing and communications, of the U.S. Commercial Service’s USA Trade Promotion Center, presented the award on March 7.

The award, presented at the Office of Management and Budget, Washington, D.C., is given to organizations that have partnered with the Commerce Department’s Commercial Service to help promote trade/export opportunities for U.S. businesses. STAMEQ was recognized for its cooperative activities with two leading U.S. standards organizations, ASTM International and the American National Standards Institute.

“Vietnam’s adoption of global standards with the help of ASTM International and ANSI has greatly expanded avenues for increased U.S.-Vietnamese commercial cooperation,” Barry said. “Through its efforts in shaping international standards, ASTM International and ANSI are helping Vietnam to develop its standards infrastructure and bring them further into the mainstream of trade.”
STAMEQ is Vietnam’s national standardization agency, under the Ministry of Science and Technology. STAMEQ oversees the country’s management of standardization, metrology and quality, as well as representing Vietnam in international and standardization organizations.

Vietnam’s standards system consists of nearly 6,000 standards. Currently, more than 25 percent of Vietnam’s standards meet international standards, but STAMEQ aims to increase its standards harmonization rate to more than 35 to 40 percent by 2010 to promote trade facilitation and economic growth. Vietnam is looking for help to establish its standards infrastructure to comply with its WTO commitments, and it hopes to develop a robust U.S.-Vietnam standards program to boost bilateral trade flows.

“STAMEQ is gratified to play a constructive role in the ever-growing U.S.-Vietnam trade relationship, and we hope to build on this momentum in standardization and conformity assessment activities to take our commercial relationship to even greater heights,” said Dr. Ha Dang Hien, director, conformity assessment department, STAMEQ. “We are eager to develop more practical relationships with U.S. standards organizations in the coming months.”

“Through the STAMEQ/ASTM International MOU signed three years ago, STAMEQ has adopted well over 100 ASTM standards in a multitude of industrial sectors, including petroleum, construction materials, water quality, laboratory apparatus, nondestructive testing and the environment,” said Kitty Kono, vice president, global cooperation, ASTM International. “We are also happy to see greater numbers of Vietnamese technical experts joining ASTM as active members on ASTM technical committees. Our congratulations to STAMEQ.” //

ASTM Staff Participate in NIST Workshop With South American Oil and Gas

ASTM International staff partici0pated in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Standards in Trade Workshop on Oil and Gas for South America from March 26-30. The workshop facilitated an information exchange on the regulatory framework pertaining to the oil and gas sector in the United States and South American countries. Representatives from the oil and gas industries in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela all participated in the event. Additional objectives were to provide an information exchange on how standards and regulatory requirements are developed and used in the U.S. and South America and to encourage mutually cooperative efforts in standards development and conformity assessment programs.

Teresa Cendrowska, ASTM International director, external affairs, and Jessica Hychalk, ASTM International manager, global cooperation, both participated in the workshop. //

Foreign Agricultural Service Receives Training from ASTM Staff

ASTM International staff members David Bradley, director, proficiency testing, and manager, Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants, and Teresa Cendrowska, director, external relations, recently conducted a training session for staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service in Washington, D.C. While the focus of the meeting was biofuel standards, Bradley and Cendrowska also presented an overview of the U.S. standardization process, background on ASTM International and information about Committee D02. //

Sivaraman Becomes Project Manager for Interlaboratory Study Program

ASTM International is pleased to announce that Raji Sivaraman has joined the staff as project manager of the Interlaboratory Study Program. Sivaraman brings many years of experience in project management to ASTM International. She served as adjunct professor and business development consultant for the County College of Morris and Mercer County College. She has worked as project manager for Readiminds in the United States and Singapore; as publication project manager for Classical Music of North America in New Jersey; as project director for the Ministry of Education in Singapore; and as educationalist at the Regional English Language Center in Singapore.

Sivaraman has a bachelorís degree from Kerala University in India and a masterís degree in project management from the University of Management and Technology in Arlington, Va. She also has her Project Management Professional Certification. The ASTM International Interlaboratory Study Program was established in 2005. Its purpose is to help ASTM technical committees provide users of their test methods with complete precision and bias statements, gleaned from valid interlaboratory studies. //