Entitled "Implementation of standards for trade facilitation: Focus on conformity assessment systems," the training on June 21 included most (25 of the 36) ARSO member states. Also, several ANSI members, including ASTM International, IAPMO Group, Intertek, and UL, sent experts to share best practices on conformance procedures that bolster confidence, protect consumers, and confirm product compliance without hindering trade. The international framework and obligations for conformity assessment, the types of conformity assessment programs, how to develop a risk-based approach to conformity assessment, and conformity assessment and technical regulations were among the key topics addressed. More information on the training, including links to the agenda, presentations and pictures, is available on the Standards Alliance website.
The ARSO General Assembly also provided an opportunity for ANSI's vice president for international policy Joseph Tretler Jr. to meet with African partners regarding ANSI's growing portfolio of capacity-building projects in Africa. This year ANSI is expanding the Standards Alliance to support the Obama Administration's Trade Africa initiative [see related news item], and implementing a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)-funded program called the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Standards Program [see related news item]. The Institute is also twinning with African national standards bodies on several ISO activities. Notably, Mr. Tretler met with Mr. Barama Sarr, Director General of Senegal's Association Senegalaise de Normalisation (ASN), during the ARSO General Assembly, to discuss plans for ASN to twin with ANSI on a new ISO PC 305 on sustainable non-sewered sanitation systems, which is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [see related news item].