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U.S. Representation
in ISO

What Is ISO?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 160 countries, one from each member country. ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947 and based in Geneva. Its mission is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. ISO's work results in international agreements which are published as International Standards and other types of ISO deliverables.

There are three ISO member categories, each with a different level of access and influence over the ISO system:

  • Full members (or member bodies) influence ISO standards development and strategy by participating and voting in ISO technical and policy meetings. They also sell and adopt ISO International Standards nationally.
  • Correspondent members observe the development of ISO standards and strategy by attending ISO technical and policy meetings as observers. They too can sell and adopt ISO International Standards nationally.
  • Subscriber members keep up to date on ISO’s work but cannot participate in it, nor can they sell or adopt ISO International Standards nationally.

The rules that govern the work procedures of ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) are formally laid down in a set of ISO/IEC Directives. Along with several related guidance documents, these directives are designed to ensure transparency and fairness in international standards development, and they allow for all interested stakeholders to have a voice through their national standards body member of ISO.

Access ISO Standards
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ANSI’s Role

ANSI is the sole U.S. representative and dues-paying full member of ISO, and, as a founding member, plays an active role in ISO’s governance and technical work. Through ANSI, the U.S. has immediate access to the ISO standards development processes. ANSI currently participates in 79% of all active ISO technical committees and holds the international Secretariat position in 15% of those committees. Secretariats provide policy guidance, project and administrative management, and strategic leadership to enable the work of ISO technical committees to progress.

U.S. participation in ISO’s international activities is coordinated through ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs). A U.S. TAG is comprised of relevant experts from a broad range of U.S. stakeholder categories who work together to develop U.S. consensus positions on activities and ballots of a specified ISO committee. These consensus positions are transmitted to ISO on behalf of the United States via ANSI. U.S. TAGs also select U.S. experts to serve as delegates and experts for direct participation at the international level, and they determine whether ANSI wishes to assume leadership roles in ISO committees.

ANSI also promotes the use of U.S. standards internationally, advocates U.S. policy and technical positions in other international and regional standards organizations, and encourages the adoption of international standards as national standards where they meet the needs of the user community.

Outreach

ANSI conducts outreach for new and existing areas of standardization in order to better enhance U.S. representation within that subject matter. ANSI proactively works to identify U.S. stakeholders for new and existing ISO committees and, at request, will collaborate with U.S. TAGs and U.S.-held ISO Secretariats to better foster U.S. leadership and effectiveness in ISO technical activities.

The ANSI ISO Team (ISOT) acts as the interface between U.S. TAGs and Secretariats and ISO. ISOT is the first point of contact for U.S. persons with questions regarding ISO work and getting involved in ISO committees. ISOT’s outreach program can assist with identifying opportunities for your organization to get involved, exploring potential collaborations, participating in an ISO field where there is currently no U.S. representation, or developing strategies for leadership, among other activities.

If you’re interested in participating in a particular U.S. TAG, please email isot@ansi.org, and we will connect you with the U.S. TAG Administrator who can provide information on becoming a U.S. TAG member. Or if there is an ISO committee that does not currently have U.S. representation, contact us regarding the possibility of forming a U.S. TAG.

ISOT can also assist with any committee-specific issues U.S. TAGs or U.S.-held secretariats might be facing. ISOT staff are well versed in the ISO Directives and the ANSI International Procedures, and have experience in all aspects of the ISO process.

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