ANSI - American National Standards Institute

A Strong Private-Public Partnership

ANSI's Current and Ongoing Government Relations Initiatives

strong U.S. position in the global marketplace depends upon a strong partnership between the private sector and the federal government, particularly when it comes to standards and standards development.

In July 1995 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the Department of Commerce, signed a memorandum of understanding with ANSI to enhance and strengthen the U.S. voluntary standards system through strong public-private sector interaction. The ANSI - NIST memorandum of understanding has been particularly useful in coordinating the activities of federal agencies in the transition to voluntary consensus standards.

A further example of the value of this partnership is demonstrated by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense relying more heavily on the use of private sector voluntary standards for acquisition, regulatory reform and conformity assessment. This trend is largely due to passage of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA), which requires federal agencies to increase their reliance upon and participation in the voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems. A revision to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119 guides federal agencies in their implementation phase of the NTTAA.

U.S. private sector and public sector interests in the standardization community have a long history and positive working relationships. Over 35 government agencies are members of the ANSI Federation. Their representatives serve at all levels of the U.S. voluntary standards system, including ANSI policy committees, national and international standards development committees - frequently in leadership positions - and as members of ANSI delegations to international meetings.

The importance of a strong partnership between the private- and public-sectors was strengthened in 1997 by the lively debate over revisions to OMB Circular A-119. The Circular, which guides U.S. government agencies in their implementation of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, will help reinforce government participation in the voluntary standards system. Strong working relationships continue with the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrated their support of voluntary standards - the EPA through grants to the Federation, and the FDA through new legislation strengthening its reliance on voluntary standards in protecting public health and safety. The Department of Defense continued its acquisition reform process, eliminating military-unique specifications whenever possible. Other agencies, such as General Services Administration and the Department of Energy, are using non-government standards extensively.

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