The theme of this year's celebration, Accreditation: Facilitating World Trade, was chosen by ILAC and IAF to emphasize the major role that accreditation and inspection bodies can play in bolstering international trade and economic growth, as well as promoting confidence in imported products. In 2011, the World Trade Organization (WTO) estimated that international trade in merchandise totaled $18.2 trillion and commercial service exports hit $4.1 trillion, demonstrating the importance of trade to the global economy.
The rise of globalization has led to a significant increase in the import and export of products and services around the world, bringing down prices and increasing consumer choice. However, these changes have also resulted in an increased need for effective ways for businesses and consumers to ensure that the goods and services that they are purchasing meet reasonable thresholds for safety, effectiveness, and quality. Accreditation - in which an outside assessor examines the competence of bodies to determine compliance with standards - can help to fill that growing need, providing the confidence and security that allows consumers to feel comfortable purchasing imported products and services worldwide.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a U.S. representative to IAF, and, through the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, a member of ILAC. ANSI offers a broad portfolio of third-party accreditation services based on international standards, including programs for product certification bodies, personnel certification bodies, education and training certificate-issuing bodies, greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies, and standards developers.
International specifiers, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders in over 90 countries are celebrating World Accreditation Day through their own promotional events, seminars for industry and regulatory officials, and press campaigns. A number of major international organizations have recognized the value of World Accreditation Day, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).