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Five New MOUs Signed Between National Standards Bodies and ASTM

ASTM has signed memorandums of understanding with the national standards bodies of Dominica, Morocco, Panama, Peru, and Turkey. This brings to 22 the number of MOUs undertaken between ASTM and developing countries around the world. Through these MOUs, ASTM intends to help signatories to use standards in support of the needs of their citizens in areas of public health and safety, technology development, and environmental protection.

The signatories in each nation are:

• Dominica Bureau of Standards;
• Service de Normalisation Industrielle Marocaine (SNIMA, Morocco);
• Comision Panamena de Normas Industriales y Tecnicas (COPANIT, Panama);
• Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual (INDECOPI, Peru); and
• Türk Standardlari Enstitüsü (TSE, Turkey).

When possible, ASTM representatives joined with representatives of the signing national standards bodies to hold official signing ceremonies. This was the case in Peru when ASTM President Jim Thomas, accompanied by Past Chairman of the ASTM Board James S. Pierce, went to INDECOPI headquarters in Lima to address a meeting of ASOCEM, the Peruvian organization of cement producers. Thomas addressed the topic of international standardization and the value of market selection of standards. Pierce, a member of ASTM Committees C01 on Cement and C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates, provided an overview of the relationship between the work of these committees and the American Concrete Industry and its codes. Forty participants — standardization officials, producers, users and consumers — attended each event. The MOU between ASTM and INDECOPI was signed at this meeting. //

Fernando Arrunátegui Martinez (left), President of the Board of Directors of INDECOPI, and Jim Thomas, ASTM President, Signing the MOU Between the Two Organizations

ASTM’s Participation in the Central American Free Trade Agreement

ASTM has been accepted as a non-governmental organization to volunteer assistance in trade-capacity building in support of the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

As noted in a May 2003 Federal Register notice, the United States has entered into free trade negotiations with five Central American countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua — for the purpose of eliminating tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods, agriculture, services and investment. Negotiations are slated for completion in December after nine rounds of negotiation by negotiating groups that will address market access, investment and services, government procurement, intellectual property, and labor, environmental, and institutional issues. A non-negotiating cooperative group on trade-capacity building has met in conjunction with the negotiating groups. This group will work to address the countries’ needs during the negotiations, throughout implementation, and during transition to free trade.

ASTM International met with the non-negotiating group during the meetings held July 28-Aug. 1 in New Orleans, La. ASTM hopes to offer the following in its role:

• Promotion of knowledge of voluntary standardization;
• Enhancement of developing nations’ ability to participate in open, transparent, and balanced development of international voluntary consensus standards; and
• Provision of technical training on technical aspects and implementation of ASTM standards in industrial, commercial and scientific applications. //

COPANT Meetings

ASTM International, represented by Kitty Kono, vice president for global cooperation, participated in the COPANT meetings held May 5-9 in Kingston, Jamaica. Kono was also invited to present two papers. In one presentation she addressed standards as a component of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and, in the other, the use of standards in corporate strategy. //

ASTM International Participates in Training in Chile and Colombia

In June, a seminar was held at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile. At the invitation of Instituto Chileno del Acero (ICHA, the Chilean Steel Institute) and DICTUC, an engineering collaborative of the university, ASTM President Jim Thomas addressed participants on the importance of standards in trade, ASTM’s commitment to technical quality and market relevance in its standards, and ASTM’s policies and outreach regarding international standardization. Also presenting was Hank Martin, director of construction codes and standards at the American Iron and Steel Institute. He discussed the ASTM standards used in the codes for fire protection in steel structures and related codes developed by the American Iron and Steel Institute, International Code Council, and NFPA International.

At the invitation of INN, the national standards body of Chile, ASTM Director of External Relations Teresa Cendrowska provided training on ASTM International, its Web site, and the electronic tools that ASTM offers to enable remote participation. Approximately 15 INN standards professionals attended the session, which was held at the INN offices in Santiago.

In early July, Teresa Cendrowska visited with ASOCRETO, the Colombian Association for Concrete Producers, and ICONTEC, the Colombian national standards body, at their respective headquarters. At ASOCRETO she provided an overview of ASTM International and its Committees C01 on Cement and C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates. Ten producer representatives participated. Cendrowska also conducted training, on the same subjects she had covered for INN, for 60 standardization professionals and technical experts at ICONTEC. She also met with representatives of ICONTEC’s information technology and training and development departments to discuss opportunities for further collaboration. //

In June, Manuel Lascarro (second from right), director of special projects and housing with ASOCRETO, the Colombian Association for Concrete Producers, visited ASTM Headquarters to provide information about the membership and scopr of his organization, to learn about ASTM, and to determine how the two organizations might collaborate on future events. ASTM staff who welcomed Lascarro were (from left): Teresa Cendrowska, director, external relations; Kitty Kono, vice president, global cooperation; Jim Olshefsky, director, committee services, and Rani Sen, global cooperation intern.

Copyright 2003, ASTM