The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has submitted a response to a recent Federal Register Notice issued by the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), pursuant to President Donald Trump's Executive Order 13786, signed March 31, 2017, which directs the agencies to issue a report on countries with significant trade deficits.
In preparation of the report and ahead of the public hearing on trade deficits on May 18, the DOC and USTR issued a Federal Register notice seeking input from relevant state, local, and non-governmental stakeholders, including manufacturers, workers, consumers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers. In support of this, ANSI solicited input from its members and stakeholders, and compiled and submitted a response highlighting the importance of the public-private partnership and broad collaboration in promoting harmonized standards and conformity assessment solutions that facilitate trade and bolster U.S. business.
Trade Deficit Findings & ANSI's Response
The DOC reports several foreign trading partners with which the U.S. had a significant goods trade deficit in 2016, including Canada, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. In addition to various other factors, the Omnibus Report under executive order will assess the major causes of the trade deficit, including worker rights and labor standards and any other form of discrimination against the commerce of the United States or other factors contributing to the deficit.
As the coordinator of the U.S. standardization community, ANSI's official response addresses standard-related market distortions identified in bilateral and global trading relationships that impact U.S. competitiveness. Additionally, it considers the effect of nontariff barriers (NTBs), including standards-related barriers and conformity assessment issues.
In its response, ANSI highlights key recommendations, including:
Actively use all channels, including the relationships ANSI has developed with counterpart national standards bodiesin China, India, and EU countries, for exampleto promote harmonization of standards and regulatory requirements in ways that benefit U.S. businesses.
Ensure that the definition of "international standard" is not limited to those developed by international bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), but also includes other globally recognized standards that are broadly used around the world.
Continue to encourage public-private collaboration in standards development, including cooperation between standards development organizations and government agencies.