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The Use of ASTM Standards in Uruguay
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 October 2005 ASTM Standards Around the World
Pablo J. Benia is the general director of the Uruguayan Institute of Technical Norms. A chemical engineer, Benia is a member of the boards of various regional and national standardization and quality organizations. He has served as president of the Pan American Standards Commission three times.

The Use of ASTM Standards in Uruguay

On Nov. 14, 2001, the Uruguayan Institute of Technical Norms (UNIT) and ASTM International signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening relations between the two organizations. This move provides support to the growing Uruguayan economy while breaking fresh ground in terms of continental integration.

ASTM President James A. Thomas and Vice President of Global Cooperation Kathleen Kono traveled to Montevideo for this occasion and signed the MOU with the author in a special ceremony. The signing took place in UNIT’s auditorium before more than 150 guests including the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, Martin J. Silverstein.

The aim of the MOU between UNIT and ASTM is to promote communication between the two parties, improve mutual understanding of their standardization activities and use ASTM resources to strengthen Uruguay’s standardization system. Although the MOU laid the groundwork for the relationship between UNIT and ASTM in November 2001, ASTM has cooperated with UNIT since the latter’s inception in the 1940s.

Cooperation includes annual delivery to UNIT of the entire collection of ASTM standards, exclusive distribution of these standards in Uruguay, UNIT’s participation in ASTM’s technical committees and the development of training programs between ASTM and UNIT.

These last three years during which the MOU has been in effect have witnessed significant achievements. For example, users of UNIT’s Information Center can now access updated ASTM standards; an increasing number of ASTM standards are now adopted as UNIT standards; ASTM standards are also referenced more often in UNIT standards; and, where appropriate, as per Uruguayan technical standards, the applicability of ASTM standards has increased.

Another important aspect has been the identification of ASTM standards and the promotion of their use as part of regional standards of MERCOSUR (a southern common market that includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay).

Special mention should also be made of UNIT’s involvement in ASTM’s Committees C01 on Cement and D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials and Applications. It is now possible via information technologies for Uruguayan technical experts to take part in the development and balloting processes of ASTM standards. A link to ASTM International has also been added to UNIT’s home page, allowing users to access ASTM’s Web site directly. //

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